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Sir William Foster, President. 

The Right Hon. The Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, K.G., P.C., Vice^ 

Admiral Sir William Goodenough, G.C.B., M.V.O., Vice-President. 
James A. Williamson, Esq., D.Lit., Vice-President. 

The Admiralty (L. G. Carr Laughton, Esq.). 

J. N. L. Baker, Esq., M.A., B.Litt. 

Sir Richard Burn, C.S.I. 

The Guildhall Library (Raymond Smith, Esq.). 

Professor V. T. Harlow, D.Litt. 

A. R. Hinks, Esq., C.B.E., F.R.S. 

G. H. T. Kimble, Esq., M.A. 

Sir Gilbert Laithwaite, K.C.I.E., C.S.I. 

Malcolm Letts, Esq., F.S.A. 

Professor Kenneth Mason, M.C., R.E. 

Walter Oakeshott, Esq., M.A. 

N. M. Penzer, Esq., M.A., D.Litt. 

Professor E. Prestage, D.Litt. 

S. T. Sheppard, Esq. 

Professor E. G. R. Taylor, D.Sc. 

R. A. Wilson, Esq. 

Edward Heawood, Esq., M.A., Treasurer. 

Edward Lynam, Esq., D.Litt., M.R.I.A., F.S.A., Hon. Secretary 
(British Museum, W.C.i). 

The President ) 

The Treasurer ^Trustees. 

Malcolm Letts, Esq., F.S.A.J 


First page of Tomd Pires’ original letter from Malacca, to Afonso 
de Albuquerque, loth Jan,, 1513 

C?V'«- t'"’ ^.rr,^A"'e 

V<7 \K>yi \A*r»J>B ^K«5)■ ^ 

wViiv -'co.^'.vv »- 


C>VJ>- ‘•J-< Mi rx c ^ 

V.. 'y?, - 







Translated from the Portuguese MS in the Bibliotheque 
de la Chambre des Deputes^ Paris, and edited by 








A true friend, to whom the 
history of the Portuguese in 
the East owes so much 





List of Illustrations ix 

Foreword xi 


The Paris Codex xiii 

Biographical Note on Tome Pires xviii 

'The Suma Oriental Ixxii 

The Pilot and Cartographer Francisco Rodrigues . . Ixxviii 

The Book of Francisco Rodrigues .... Ixxxviii 

The Suma Oriental of Tom^ Pires 
Preface ........... i 

First Book — Egypt to Cambay: 
Egypt to Ormuz 



Nodhakis .... 



Second Book — Cambay to Ceylon: 

Deccan 4 ^ 

Goa 54 

Kanara 6o 

Narsinga 63 

Malabar 65 

Ceylon 84 

Third Book — Bengal to Indo China: 


Arakan 95 

Pegu 97 


Burma ^ 


Champa ^*2 

Cochin China 









Fourth Book — China to Borneo: page 

China ii6 

LiuKiu 128 

Japan 13 1 

Borneo 132 

Philippines 133 

Fifth Book — Indian Archipelago: 

Sumatra 135 

Java 166 

South-Eastern Islands 200 

Banda, Ceram, Amboina 205 

Moluccas 212 

Central Islands 223 


Sixth Book — of Malacca: 

Early History 229 

Neighbouring Lands 259 

Native Administration 264 

Trade 268 

Portuguese Occupation 278 

The Book of Francisco Rodrigues 

Table of Contents 290 

Red Sea Rutter 291 

Nautical Rules 295 

China Rutter 301 

Original Portuguese Text 

O Livro de Francisco Rodrigues 307 

A SuMA Oriental de Tomi^ Pires 323 


I. Letter ofTome Pires to King Manuel, 27 Jan. 1516 . 512 

II. Brief Description of the Maps and Panoramic Draw- 
ings contained in the Book of F rancisco Rodrigues . 519 

III. List of Early Maps quoted in the Notes . . . 529 

Bibliography 533 

Index 541 



plate facing page 

I. Tome Fires’ letter to Afonso de Albuquerque 


II. Text of Francisco Rodrigues’ . . . xvi 

III. Rodrigues’ map (fol. i8) of the West Coast of 

Europe, etc. xvii 

IV. Suma Oriental, text in Lisbon and Paris MSS . Ixiv 

V. Rodrigues’ drawing (fol. 43) of Alor . . . Ixv 

VI. Rodrigues’ Voyage to the Spice Islands . . Ixxx 

VII. Rodrigues’ Voyage in the Red Sea . . . Ixxxi 

VIII. Rodrigues’ drawing (fol. 58) of Sukur . . . Ixxxviii 

IX. Rodrigues’ drawing (fol. 54) of Adunare . . Ixxxix 

X. Ensemble of five Rodrigues’ drawings of Raja 

Island xciv 

XL Rodrigues’ map (fol. 26) of East Coast of Africa, 

etc 16 

XII. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 27) of N.E. Coast of Africa, 

etc. ........ 17 

XIII. The West Coast of India according to Fires . . 48 

XIV. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 28) of the West Coast of 

India, etc 49 

XV. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 29) of Ceylon, Malacca, etc. . 88 

XVI. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 33) of the Bay of Bengal . 89 

XVII. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 34) of the Malay Peninsula, 

etc. ........ 96 

XVIII. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 30) of N.E. Coast of Suma- 
tra, etc. . 97 

XIX. Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 38) of the Gulf of Tong- 

King 1 12 

XX. Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 39) of South Coast of 

China, efc. 113 

XXL Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 40) of the Canton River, 

etc. ........ 120 

XXII. Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 41) of N.E. Coast of China, 

etc 121 

XXIII. Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 42) of Formosa . . 128 





XXIV. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 35) of Sumatra, Java, etc. . 129 

XXV. Ensemble of three of Rodrigues’ drawings of 

Sumbawa, etc 200 

XXVI. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 36) of Borneo, Bali, etc. . 208 

XXVII. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 37) of the Spice Islands, etc. 209 

Outline Map of the East, showing Tome Fires’ itineraries and 
the geographical names as mentioned in the Suma Oriental 

In pocket 

















Frontispiece of Rodrigues’ Book . . Frontispiece 

Malacca according to Fires 240 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 19) of N.W. Coast of Africa, 

etc 241 

Rodrigues’ figure for ‘Ascertaining the latitude’ . 296 

F\g\xxt{xomt\it Regimento de Munich . . . 297 

Compass-rose for measuring a degree in leagues . 304 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 20) of West Coast of Africa, 

etc. ........ 305 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 2 1) of West Coast of Africa 352 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 22) of the Coast of Brasil, 

etc. . . . . . . . . 353 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 23) of West Coast of Africa, 

etc 416 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 24) of the Coast of South 

Africa 417 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 25) showing St. Helena and 

Tristan da Cunha 464 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 1 14) of the Western Medi- 
terranean 465 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 115) of the Central Mediter- 
ranean 522 

Rodrigues’ map (fol. 116) of the Eastern Medi- 
terranean and Black Sea .... 523 

The East, from the Red Sea to Japan, as known to Francisco 
Rodrigues In pocket 


W HEN I returned from Paris in 1937 and told Dr. 

Edward Lynam, Hon. Secretary of the Hakluyt 
Society, that I had just discovered the long-sought 
codex containing the Suma Oriental of Tome Pires and the 
Book of Francisco Rodrigues, he immediately suggested that I 
should edit the manuscript for his Society. I gladly accepted, as 
no other learned Society could so appropriately publish this 
almost completely unknown work. Moreover the English, being 
the principal heirs of the great Portuguese Eastern Empire, are 
as much interested as the Portuguese in a document of such im- 
portance for the history of the first regular contacts between 
West and East. 

The present study allows new light to be thrown on the first 
official European Embassy to China and its leader. Tome Pires, 
the extraordinary man who, after being apothecary to the un- 
fortunate Prince Afonso, son of King John II, went to India in 
1511 as ‘factor of the drugs’, lived for two and a half years in 
newly-conquered Malacca, where he wrote most of the Suma 
Oriental, and then was sent as ambassador to China, where he 
died after some twenty years of varied and painful experiences. 
Till now, little was known about Pires and his Embassy, and the 
scanty information and scattered documents referring to both 
had never been brought together. 

War broke out when I had nearly finished the lengthy task of 
typing and translating the whole manuscript. Not until 1942 
could I continue my work. This is why I could not finish it as 
early as promised to the Hakluyt Society and to the Inter- 
national Congress of Geography of Amsterdam, in 1938, where 
I presented a brief tentative report on the codex, and announced 
my intention of editing it. The impossibility of working in Por- 
tuguese Archives or in Paris to clear up doubtful points, and the 
removal from the British Museum of much early material, 
caused me considerable difficulties. Furthermore, when the 
whole typescript was ready, war-time printing conditions forced 




me to reduce my editorial work by about two-fifths. All this 
accounts for some of the deficiencies in the present edition. 

From MM. les Questeurs de la Chambre des Deputes I ob- 
tained authorisation, dated 5th March 1938, for the publication 
of the codex; this I here acknowledge with thanks. Without the 
aid of many friends and correspondents I could hardly have 
solved several of my problems. I wish to express my gratitude to 
all who have assisted me. Besides Dr. Lynam, I am specially 
grateful to Miss P. J. Radford for her varied assistance through- 
out this work; to Miss M. Withers for her help in the translation 
up to fol. 172; to Dr. H. Thomas, Keeper of Printed Books in 
the British Museum, for much valuable advice, for help in the 
translation from fol. 173 onwards, and for reading the Introduc- 
tion and Notes; to Major C. R. Boxer, now a prisoner in Japa- 
nese hands, for assistance and encouragement; to my learned 
friend the Viscount de Lagoa for information supplied from 
Lisbon; to Prof. E. Prestage for reading that part of the transla- 
tion not seen by Dr. Thomas, and for valuable advice; to Prof. 
C. A. Moule for guidance in all matters relating to China; to 
Mr. G. R. Crone, Librarian of the Royal Geographical Society, 
for much help; to Commandant D. Gernez, of the French Navy, 
for help over Rodrigues’ Book) to Dr. J. Ramsbottom, Keeper of 
Botany, Natural History Museum, for advice on all botanical 
matters; to M. C. de la Ronciere, of the Bibliotheque National 
de Paris, Prof. W. Simon of the School of Oriental Studies, Dr. 
L. Giles, Mr. R. Pocock, F.R.S., Mr. J. E. Dandy of the Natural 
History Museum, Sir Richard Burn, Mr. C. D. Ley, J. Frazao de 
Vasconcelos, L. Reis Santos, Ad. Lopes Vieira, and my son 
Eduardo Luis, for assistance in various ways; to the Staff of the 
British Museum, especially Mr. J. A. Petherbridge, and of the 
Royal Geographical Society’s Library and Map Room, espec- 
ially Mr. G. Mackay, who has drawn all the illustrative maps. 
Last but not least, I wish to acknowledge the support received 
from the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, 
without which it might have been impossible for me to carry on 
with this work. 

London, August 1944. 




I T is surprising that such an important document for the his- 
tory of geography as Tome Fires’ Suma Oriental — surely the 
most important and complete account of the East produced 
in the first half of the sixteenth century, though it was written in 
15 12-15 — has lain forgotten and practically unnoticed until now; 
the more so as incorporated with it in the same codex is the con- 
temporary Book of Francisco Rodrigues with its precious maps 
which became world-famous in the middle of the last century. 

When the Viscount de Santarem reproduced in his last Atlas^ 
dated 1849, a series of twenty-six maps under the general title 
Portulan dresse entre les annees 1524-1530 par Francisco Ro- 
drigues, pilote Portugal, qui a fait le voyage aux Moluques, he did 
not state where the maps were to be found. The Viscount de 
Santarem died in 1856, but many of the notes he left on cosmo- 
graphy and cartography, gathered in an almost life-long research 
among European archives, mainly in Portugal and France, were 
not published till 1919b In these notes, under the heading 
‘Portulano de Francisco Rodrigues’, we find an extensive de- 
scription of Rodrigues’ Book which ends with a very brief refer- 
ence to Pires’ Suma Oriental. The description is not altogether 
correct. It gives, however, a most important clue in a footnote, 
which says that the codex belonged at the time the description 
was written (1850) to the ‘Library of the National Assembly’, 
Paris. In 1933 I wrote to Paris about this codex and was told 
that it could not be found anywhere, though it might be in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale, perhaps catalogued under some un- 
recognizable titled. However, when I visited Paris later, I could 
not find it in the Bibliotheque Nationale, nor in any of the other 
public libraries where I searched. No one could trace it, and it 

* Visconde de Santarem, Estudos de Cartografia Antiga, i, 148-56. 

^ This vague information misled me into asserting in my Cartografia e 
Cartdgrafos Portugueses dos Seculos XV e XVI (ll, 124), published in i 935 » 
that the codex was in the Bibliotheque Nationale. 




was considered lost; but I did not give up, and when in Sep- 
tember 1937 I returned to Paris, I was glad to find in the 
volume Paris, Chamhre des Deputes of the Catalogue general des 
Manuscrits des Bihliotheques Publiques de France, p. 471, the 
following entry: ‘1248 (ED, 19). Journal de Francisco Roi’s, 
pilote de la flotte portugaise, qui decouvrit les Molluques. Ou- 
vrage divise en deux parties, la premiere remplie par des cartes, 
la deuxieme contenant le texte proprement dit. Sur le plat 
interieur est colle un ex-libris du chevalier de Fleurieu. XVIe 

siecle. Papier. 178 feuillets et 124 pages. 380 sur 265 millim. 
Rel. veau marbre, portant au dos le soleil de Fleurieu’. Rois is 
the old or abbreviated spelling of Rodrigues. The description is 
not very correct, as will be seen later, but it led me to the place 
where the precious and long-sought codex lay in oblivion. 

The volume is bound in gilt 
f \ calf, and on the back is impressed 

' the sun of the Fleurieu family; 

/' ^ ^ inside the cover is the ex-libris of 

‘Mr. le Cher- Je Fleurieu’, the 
famous French hydrographer, 
Comte de Fleurieu (1738-1810), 

O a former owner of the codex. It is 

obvious that it was bound while 
in Fleurieu’s possession, and un- 
fortunately it was badly cropped 
in binding, part of the words in 
some marginal notes or additions, 
or in maps, and most of the origi- 
nal numeration of the sheets, 
having been cut away. The vol- 
ume contains, besides 4 fly- 
leaves, 178 folios of thick white 
Watermark in the paper of paper measuring 263 by 377 mm. 

Rodrigues’ Book, with the draw- 
ings and maps all on the same 
paper, occupies the first 1 16 folios; Pires’ Suma fills the other 62. 
The paper of the 178 folios is all the same and bears the same 



On fol. 5r. is written the word Osorio in a later hand, probably 
the signature of the famous Bishop D. Jeronimo Osorio, a 
sixteenth-century historian and book-collector, apparently an 
early owner of the codex^. Each MS has its original folio num- 
eration, almost completely cut away when the volume was 
bound; but traces of it can still be seen. Another numeration 
was supplied, later, in Fires’ Suma, and a completely new one, 
from I to 178, was added in a modern hand to the whole codex. 

Santarem’s above-mentioned footnote says also; ‘It seems 
that this precious MS belonged to the famous Bishop Osorio, a 
great many of whose MSS were found by the English on board 
a Portuguese ship, which they captured off the Azores and took 
to England. Later it was acquired by M. de Fleurieu’. He adds 
that this information was given to him by ‘M. Bliller, librarian of 
the National Assembly’. I was unable to trace the origin of this 
curious information. 

' This supposition, though very likely, is merely conjectural, because — • 
strange though it may appear — no document bearing the signature of Bishop 
Osdrio has, so far, been found in Portuguese archives or anywhere else. D. 
Jerdnimo Osorio was born in Lisbon in 1506 and died at Tavira in 1580. He 
studied at the Universities of Salamanca, Paris and Bologna; in Paris he was a 
companion of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In 1564 he was appointed Bishop of 
Silves, after having been a Professor in the University of Coimbra. He was a 
famous and learned writer and left numerous works, mainly in Latin; one of 
the better known is De rebus Emmanuelis Regis Lusitaniae invictissimi virtute et 
auspicio gestis libri duodecim, Olysippone 1571. There was another Jerdnimo 
Osdrio (1545-1611), nephew of the former, who was a canon of the see of 
Evora and also a book- collector. It has been said that when in 1596 the Earl 
of Essex sacked Faro he took with him Bishop Osdrio ’s books, which he later 
presented to the Bodleian Library. However, the bishop of Faro was then D. 
Fernando Martins Mascarenhas. Essex ‘ “quarted hymself on the bushopes 
howse”, and two days later set fire to the town and sailed for home; but he 
saved the Bishop’s library, and in 1600 made a gift of some 200 volumes to the 
Bodleian’. See the interesting article by Miss K. M. P[ogson], A Grand 
Inquisitor, and his Library, published together with ‘A list of books presented 
by the Earl of Essex in i6oo, still in the Bodleian’, in The Bodleian Quarterly 
Record, iii, 239-44. Oxford 1922. J. B. Silva Lopes says that ‘among the spoil 
that the English took with them, was the precious library of the Bishop 
(Mascarenhas), composed of many books, a good part of which they say was 
taken to the Library of Oxford, and among them there were many of the 
learned D. Jerdnimo Osdrio’. Memorias para a Historia Ecclesiastica do Bis- 
pado do Algarve, p. 369. Lisboa 1848. Among all the books presented by 
Essex there is only one in manuscript; none of them seems to bear the 
signature of Bishop Osdrio. See plate II. 



When referring to Tome Pires, Barbosa Machado says in his 
Bibliotheca Lusitana that he wrote 'Summa Oriental comegando 
do estreito do mar roxo ate a China^ Dedicado a D. Jodo III. fol. 
M.S.’ This was perhaps an earlier copy than the Paris MS, as 
will be seen later, in spite of the supposed dedication to King 
John III, whose reign began in 1521. Actually Pires dedicated 
the Suma to John Ill’s father. King Manuel I. There is no 
doubt, however, that it was a different copy. Rodrigues’ was 

written by himself, and Pires’ Suma is a contemporary copy, 
which is evident not only from the early sixteenth-century hand- 
writing, but also from the fact of the paper being exactly the 
same in both MSS. Besides, the word Osorio on fol. 5r. of 
Rodrigues’ Book is apparently in the same hand as the notes, 
referring to the order of the folios, written on fols. i i8v., 124V., 
etc., of Pires’ Suma. It is probable that the two MSS were 
assembled in the same codex by Rodrigues himself, or at least 
in his time; they certainly were together when in Osorio’s 
possession, before 1580. So the copy referred to by Barbosa 
Machado could not have been the same, otherwise he would not 
fail to mention Rodrigues and his Book, which he does not. 

The Present Edition — Though the two works are very dis- 
tinct in character — one a rutter, a nautical manual and an atlas, 
the other a geographical, economical and historical account — 
they are both very valuable, were written much about the same 
time, have been together from an early date, and to some extent 
complete each other. I am glad that the Council of the Hakluyt 
Society agreed to publish them both together and to print the 
original of the very difficult and etymologically very interesting 
Portuguese text verbatim after the English version, which un- 
doubtedly enhances the value of the present edition. 

The present copy of Pires’ Suma is not the original he himself 
wrote, and the copyist has left only too many instances of his 
own carelessness. Pires’ style is far from clear, and this, added to 
the transcriber’s mistakes and the most anarchic punctuation, or 
absolute lack of it, makes the interpretation of the text often 
extremely difficult; sometimes the translation has to be very 
free, perhaps even more of a guess than anything else. I have 
endeavoured, however, always to catch the real meaning of what 


First paffe of text of the Book of Francisco Rodrigues, showing the 
signature of Bishop D. Jeronimo Osorio (p. xv) 


Rodrigues’ map (fol. i8) of the West Coast of Europe and th<* 

British Isles (p. 519) 



Pires originally wrote, not only collating the Paris MS with 
another copy and with Ramusio’s version of part of the Suma, 
but also studying the context and other sources when available. 
In all the most difficult cases I sought the help and advice of 
such learned experts and scholars as Dr. Henry Thomas and 
Prof. Edgar Prestage. Even so, I am not sure that it has always 
been possible to reach the right interpretation; but the reader, 
when in doubt, has the faithfully reproduced Portuguese text 
for reference; from it he may attempt a better version. He will 
find much matter for study and discussion. Here my limited 
responsibility ends. 

The greater importance and length of Pires’ work made it 
advisable to print the English version before that of Rodrigues’ 
Book, reversing the order in which they occur in the codex. 
When the two MSS were assembled together at an early date, 
some folios of the Suma Oriental were misplaced, or for some 
reason or other the text does not follow the order originally 
intended by Tome Pires. All this has been adjusted in the 
English version; but in the case of the Portuguese text, its actual 
order and disposition in the Paris codex are faithfully kept. Both 
in the English version and in the Portuguese text the numeration 
of the folios is given as it appears in the Paris codex; this will 
help the reader to find without difficulty the corresponding por- 
tions in the English and the Portuguese. In annotating the text I 
have tried not only to elucidate every obscure point, when pos- 
sible, but also to explain or emphasize the importance of certain 
passages for the history of geography; this will account for the 
length of some of the notes. 

Names of Eastern persons and places, the identification of 
which is not always possible, are often given with such different 
spellings in the Portuguese text that their rendering into English 
becomes a complex problem. I decided, as a general rule, to 
print Eastern names of persons, and their official posts, as they 
occur in the Portuguese text, and to give explanations, and the 
corresponding English forms, whenever possible, in footnotes. 
As regards place-names, they are always given in the English 
form in the translation, when they can be identified and there 
is a corresponding English name; but the first time the name 

^ H.C.S. I. 



appears, and when it is repeated in a different form or much 
in the text, the original Portuguese spelling follows in brae ets. 

Before describing the Suma Oriental in detail, I now give 
a biographical sketch of Tome Pires; then I deal with Francisco 
Rodrigues and his Book in the same way. 


Tome Pires cuts a modest figure when compared with some of 
the men who shine in the history of the Portuguese in the East 
during the first half of the sixteenth century . Among those living 
there at the time, Albuquerque, the great captain and admini- 
strator, founder of an immense Empire, and Camoens, the 
Prince of Portuguese Poets, who sang the glory of his country 
and countrymen, are the greatest of all. Duarte Pacheco Pereira, 
D. Joao de Castro and Antonio Galvao were famous as captains, 
administrators and navigators or writers, Garcia da Orta as a 
scientist, Gaspar Correia and Castanheda as chroniclers. Fernao 
Mendes Pinto, whose Peregrinapao was published only thirty- 
one years after his death, with several alterations, was the great- 
est adventurer in Portuguese history, and has left us a wonderful 
account of his marvellous adventures. Many others won im- 
mortal fame as warriors, navigators or explorers. Even Duarte 
Barbosa became world-famous, but his Book was written just 
after Pires had finished the Suma Oriental, a much vaster work. 
Barbosa’s Book, the original of which is lost, was soon translated 
into Spanish and Italian, and was first published by Ramusio in 
1550, becoming widely known, while only a less important 
portion of Pires’ Suma reached Ramusio, who published it with- 
out name of author, which he did not know. 

Pires’ great work was lost and has been buried in oblivion 
until now. The humble apothecary who arrived in India in 1 5 1 1 , 
and through his merits was chosen for the important post of 
first Portuguese Ambassador to China, where he died probably 
about 1540, has been practically forgotten, though his contribu- 
tion to the early knowledge of the East is of the greatest histori- 
cal importance. He is, however, a very interesting figure, and 
the Suma Oriental, besides being the earliest extensive account 



of the East written by a Portuguese, is also the first European 
description of Malasia, the detail of which was not surpassed, in 
many respects, for more than a century or two. Tome Pires was 
above all an eager observer, a keen and inquisitive student, and a 
faithful, accurate and indefatigable describer; though his literary 
style is poor, he cannot but occupy a remarkable place among 
the early European writers on the East. 

Sources — Data about Tome Pires’ life, from shortly after his 
arrival in India till his death, are not scarce, though they are 
rather incomplete; but for his life in Portugal there are only a 
few vague references. All we know about him is contained in the 
following: the present Suma Oriental, four letters written by 
him, five other documents signed by him, one letter signed by 
him and others, eight letters and another document by contem- 
poraries who refer to him, and references in the chroniclers and 
early writers. These are summarized below. 

Pires’ letters: from Malacca, 7 Nov. 1512, to his brother Joao 
Fernandes, published in Cartas de Afonso de Albuquerque, vol. 
VII, pp. 58-60; from Malacca, 10 Jan. 1513b to Afonso de Albu- 
querque, Ibid. 4-7; from Malacca, 10 Jan. 1513, to ‘Whoever 
is in charge of appointing officials for Malacca’, Ibid., 66-7; from 
Cochin, 27 Jan. 1516, to the King of Portugal. This last was 
published for the first time in the Jornal da Sociedade Pharma- 
ceutica Lusitana, tomo. ii, no. i, pp. 36 seqq. Lisbon, 1838; 
then in Gazeta de Pharmacia, Lisbon, 1866; and again in Obras 
Completas do Cardial Saraiva, vol. vi, pp. 419-28, Lisbon, 1875. 
A translation of this extremely interesting document is given at 
the end of vol. ii. Appendix ii, of the present work. 

Other documents signed by Pires: document dated in Mal- 
acca, 12 Nov. 1513, in which he appears as executor of the will 
of his brother-in-law Diogo Lopes, Cartas, vii, 99; receipt in 
Malacca, 24 Dec. 1513, Ibid., 107; receipt in Malacca, 12 Jan. 
i^i\,Ibid., 112-13; receipt in Malacca, 5 May 1514, 121-2; 

J This letter was published with the date 10 Jan. 1512. It refers, however, 
to some events that happened months later, such as Pires’ auditing of the 
accounts of Joao Freire, factor of Abreu’s fleet to the Spice Islands, who 
returned to Malacca in December 1512, and also the intended attack of Pate 
Units against Malacca, which took place at the beginning of January 1513 
(see note pp. 151-2). See plate I. 


letter ‘To the King our Lord — from the officials of Malacca , 
7 Jan, 1514, signed by ‘the scriveners Pero Salgado, Tome Pires 
and Garcia Chaym, and the factor Pero Pessoa’, Ibid., HI, 89-91. 

Documents referring to Pires: an order of Rui de Brito, Cap- 
tain of Malacca, 4 Nov. 1513, decreeing that Pires should 
receive what was left by his dead brother-in-law. Ibid., vii, 97 > 
letter from Afonso de Albuquerque to the King of Portugal, 
Cannanore, 30 Nov. 1513, Ibid., i, 141-50; letter from Rui de 
Brito, Captain of Malacca, to the King of Portugal, Malacca, 6 
Jan. 1514, Ibid., ill, 91-7 and in Alguns Documentos da Torre do 
Tombo, pp. 345-50; letter from Rui de Brito to Afonso de Albu- 
querque, Malacca, 6 Jan, 1514, Cartas, iii, 216-31; letter from 
Jorge de Albuquerque, Captain of Malacca, to the King of 
Portugal, Malacca, 8 Jan, 1515, Ibid., iii, 133-9; letter from 
Jorge de Albuquerque, Captain of Malacca, to the King of 
Portugal, Malacca, i Jan. 1524, Ibid., iv, 35-42; two letters from 
Cristovao Vieira and Vasco Calvo, Canton, 1524, and 10 Nov. 
1524^ Later copies of these two letters, extant in the Biblio- 
theque Nationale de Paris (Ponds Portugais, no.' 65)2, were pub- 
lished — introduction, original text and translation — by Donald 
Ferguson in the Indian Antiquary, Bombay, 190 1-2. In the 
Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, there are frag- 
ments (Fragmentos, Ma9o 24) of the original of the first of 
these two letters (in Chinese ink on Chinese paper), which were 
published by Dr. E. A. Voretzsch in Boletim da Sociedade Luso- 
Japonesa, no. i, Tokyo, 1929. 

References in chronicles and early books: Caspar Correia, 
Lendas da India, vol. ii, pp. 473, 528-9, 678, written in the 
middle of the sixteenth century; Fernao Lopes de Castanheda, 
Historia do Descobrimento da India pelos Portugueses, bk. iv, 
chaps, iv and xxxi, bk. v, chap. Ixxx, ist ed. 1554; Joao de 
Barros, Asia, Decada iii, bk. ii, chap. 8, bk. vi, chaps, i and 2, 

* Although these two letters were published as dated 1534 1536, this 

was a mistake, as will be shown farther on. 

* The two letters of Vieira and Calvo are bound together with the MS of 
the Chronica dos Reis de Bisnaga, published by David Lopes, Lisboa, 1897. 
The compilation of this Chronica was ordered by Barros (cf. David Lopes’ 
Introduction, p. Ixi), and he utilized it as well as the two letters as a source of 
information in the writing of the Third Decade of his Asia. 



and bk. viii, chap. 5, ist ed. 1563; Antonio Galvao, Tratado, 
pp. 129-30, Hak. Soc. ed. (ist ed. 1563); Damiao de Gois, 
Chronica do Felicissimo Rei Dorn Emanuel, pt. iv, chaps, xxiiii 
and XXV, ist ed. 1567; Fernao Mendes Pinto, Peregrinagdo, 
chaps. Ixv, xci and cxvi, ist ed. 1614; Manuel de Faria e Sousa, 
Asia Portuguesa, tom. i, pt. iii, chaps. 3 and 6, and Appen- 
dice, chap. 7, ist ed. 1666; Diogo Barbosa Machado, Bibliotheca 
Lusitana, s.v. Thome Fires, ist ed. 1752. 

Before Arrival in India — Very little positive is known of 
Tome Pires’ early life. Gaspar Correia informs us that Pires was 
a son of the apothecary of King John II (1455-95), Casta- 
nheda says that he had been apothecary of Prince Afonso. This 
was probably the unfortunate son of John II, born 18 May 1475, 
died 13 July 1491. There was also a Prince Afonso, seventh son 
of King Manuel (1469-1521), born 23 April 1509^, but he was 
not yet two years old when Pires went to India, and could 
hardly be the Prince referred to by Castanheda. 

Pires may have been in his early forties when he embarked for 
India. In his letter of 10 Jan. 1513 to Afonso de Albuquerque, 
he complains that Pero Pessoa, the new factor of Malacca 
appointed after the death of Rui de Araujo, probably at the 
beginning of January 1512, just before Pires’ arrival, was so 
young that at first he did not want to serve as scrivener under 
him. He says, in the same letter, that Malacca was so important 
that he would like to see there ‘three or four men with white 
beards to take care of the King of Portugal’s revenue’. This 
shows that he was then no longer a young man. Prince Afonso 
married in November 1490, when he was fifteen years old. Most 
likely it was then that young Pires, son of the King’s apothecary, 
was appointed as apothecary to the Prince. He could scarcely be 
less than 22 or 23 when the Prince died in 1491. This is con- 
firmed by Pires himself when, at the end of his description of the 
Islands of Bachian, he says: ‘it must be quite twenty years that 
I have been using the said leaves in Portugal’ (fol. 158V.). That 
being so, Pires was bom circa 1468, was about 43 when he went 
to India, and about 70 when he died perhaps a little before 1540. 

• This Prince Afonso, who died 21 April 1540, was made a cardinal when 
only eight years old. 


In his letter of 7 Nov. 1512 to Joao Fernandes, his 
blood’*, he also mentions his sister Isabel Fernandes, one 
Godinha, perhaps his brother’s wife, and one Antonia, per aps 
a niece, whom he distinguishes from his brother s wi e an 
children’. He also refers to ‘Diogo Lopes my brother-in aw, 
who eats, drinks and sleeps in my house, a very good knig t an 

a very good man’. The way in which Pires refers to my hrot er- 

in-law’ seems to indicate that Diogo Lopes was the brother of 
his wife, whom he does not mention in the letter. Perhaps Pires 
was a widower, and here we may possibly have the reason of his 
departure for the East. 

The letter is addressed to ‘Senhor Joao Fernandes, in front of 
the Porta da Madalena, my brother’. It is possible that Pires had 
lived there toO. The Porta da Madalena^ was not far from the 
north-east corner of the old Terreiro do Pa9o, corresponding 
more or less to the present Pra9a do Comercio, better known to 
the British as Black Horse Square, near the end of Rua Nova 
dos Mercadores, then the main commercial street of Lisbon, 
approximately the present Rua do Comercio. There were several 
apothecary’s shops in this street^, and it is not impossible that 
one of them or some other near the place belonged to Pires or to 
his brother, or to both. Faria e Sousa says that Tome Pires must 
have been born in the Portuguese town of Leiria, because his 
daughter, found by Femao Mendes Pinto in China in 1543, 
had the name of that town as a surname. But this is mere con- 

* There is nothing extraordinary in Pires’ using a different surname from 
that used by his brother and sister. Instances of the kind are not unknown, 
though they are not usual. 

2 I was unable to find any other reference to the ‘Porta da Madalena’. It 
must have corresponded to the old ‘Porta do Ferro’, also called ‘Porta da 
Consola9ao’, which was in the present Largo de Santo Antdnio da S^, behind 
the former Church of Madalena." Castilho, Lisboa Antiga, i, ii, 178 seqq., 
VI, 112 seqq. 

3 Joao Brandao says in his Tratado da majestade, grandeza e abastatifa da 
cidade da Lisboa, p. 82, that in 1552 there were nine apothecary’s shops in 
Rua dos Mercadores. 

♦ When Pires’ letter of 27 Jan. 1516 was published, D. Francisco de Sao 
Luis (Cardeal Saraiva) asserted that he was ‘a native of Leiria’. This has no 
more foundation than Faria e Sousa’s conclusion, on which it is probably 



In the same letter Pires refers twice to ‘Senhor Jorge de Vas- 
concelos, to whom I owe as much, on account of the favours I 
have received from him, as I owe you for reasons of blood’, 
Jorge de Vasconcelos was the director or purveyor [provedor) of 
the Casa da Mina e India, an establishment in which was 
centred the administration of Portuguese affairs beyond the seas 
— a forerunner of today’s Ministry for the Colonies. He also 
says that he was enclosing a letter to Dr. Diogo Lopes, perhaps 
the chief royal physician, with whom Pires might have been 
connected after his service as apothecary to Prince Afonso. It is 
only natural that Pires went to India under the protection of 
these two important persons. In his two letters of lo Jan. 1513, 
addressed to Albuquerque and to ‘Whoever is in charge of 
appointing officials for Malacca’, Pires says that in Lisbon the 
King — who wrote a letter to Albuquerque recommending him 
for the first factorship available — had dispatched him as factor 
of the drugs {feitor das drogarias), with 30,000 reals and 20 quin- 
tals of drugs, at his choice, every year, counting from the day of 
his embarkation in Lisbon, and three men to serve him, whom 
he took with him to India. He was also in charge of a hotica 
(supply of medicines), worth 4,000 or 5,000 reais, which was 
being sent to India. 

In India Before Going to Malacca — The fleet of six ships 
under the command of D. Garcia de Noronha, a nephew of 
Afonso de Albuquerque, sailed from Lisbon in March and April 
1511. The one before this was a fleet of three ships, commanded 
by Joao Serrao, which left Lisbon in August 1510; the next 
afterwards left Lisbon in March 1512. One of the ships of D. 
Garcia de Noronha’s fleet, Belem (‘which was one of the most 
beautiful ships the seas have seen’, according to Barros), under 
the command of Cristovao de Brito, sailed from Lisbon on 20 
April and arrived at Cannanore on 8 Sept. I5II^ D. Aires da 
Gama, brother of the Admiral D. Vasco da Gama, sailed at the 
same time on the ship Piedade, but later he separated from 
Cristovao de Brito’s ship, and after sighting Bhaktal on 7 Sept. 

' Barros, ii, vi, 10. Castanheda (in, Ixxi) says that Cristdvao de Brito sailed 
from Lisbon on 19 April 1511 and that he went first to Goa; Correia (ii, 197) 
says that he arrived at Cannanore in August. 



went to Cannanore'. Fires went to India on one of t ese ’ 
which, according to Barros, were the only two of D- ^ 

Noronha’s fleet to arrive in India that year of 1 5 ^ ^ ^ 

of 7 Nov. 1512 and 10 Jan. 1513 show that he had not een ong 
in Cannanore when Albuquerque returned to Cochin at t e 
beginning of February 1512, after the conquest of Malacca. In 
the letters to his brother and to Albuquerque, Fires says that the 
Governor-General had summoned him from Cannanore, where 
he was ‘factor of the drugs’, to Cochin. In his letter of 27 Jan. 
1516 to the King, Fires says: ‘The ships of Cristovao de Brito 
and Dom Aires took to Fortugal a quantity of wormwood which 
was bought by Joao Davila when I was still in Fortugal.’ These 
ships loaded as soon as they arrived in India and were back in 
Fortugal in August 1512. It is likely that the wormwood was not 
bought much before it was sent to Fortugal, and if Fires was 
still there at that time, and by the end of 15 ii was already in 
India, he could not have come on any other ships than those of 
Cristovao de Brito and D. Aires da Gama. It can be safely con- 
cluded that Fires sailed from Lisbon on 20 April and arrived in 
India on 8 Sept. 1 5 1 1 , or a day or two later2. 

In his letter of 30 Nov. 1513 Albuquerque tells the King of 
disturbances and irregularities on the part of some of the men he 
had appointed as wardens of prizes of war (quadrilheiros) in 
Malacca. In view of this he decided, as soon as he knew of it, to 
send there ‘Tome Fires, apothecary of the Frince, because he 
seems to me a diligent man, so that he, with Rui de Araujo 
[whom Albuquerque had left as factor in Malacca] and the 
Captain should make an enquiry into all that matter’. Fires sailed 
from Cochin to Malacca on board the Santo Andre^, in company 
with the ship Santo Cristo, in April or May 1512, after eight or 

• Castanheda, iii, Ixxi. Correia (ii, 197) says that D. Aires da Gama arrived 
at Cannanore three days after Cristdvao de Brito. 

^ When Fires’ letter of 27 Jan. 1516 was published, D. Francisco de Sao 
Luis said: ‘I believe he (Fires) went to India between 1512 and 1515.’ But this 
is a mere and groundless supposition. 

3 A vessel of 70 tons built in Cochin by Gon^alo Eanes. Cartas, in, 128, 
355; V, 492. This vessel formed part of the fleet that in 1513 went to Java with 
Fires as factor, and of the squadron that in 1516-17 took him to China. The 
Santo Andre was lost in October 1518 when returning to Malacca. Barros, 
III, ii, 8. 



nine months in India. From his letter of lo Jan. 1513 to Albu- 
querque it seems that the two vessels met with bad weather just 
off Cochin, and some cargo had to be thrown overboard, in- 
cluding more than 400 cruzados worth of goods belonging to 

In Malacca. The Santo Cristo and the Santo Andre arrived 
in Malacca in June or July, soon after the death of the factor Rui 
de Araujo ^ The letter of 7 Nov. 1512 to his brother is the first 
document we have about Fires’ stay in Malacca. In it he says: 
T am in Malacca as scrivener and accountant (contador) of the 
factory (feitoria) and controller {veador) of the drugs.’ He was 
enjoying good health and he was already rich, ‘more than you 
can imagine’, in spite of having more than 400 cruzados worth of 
his goods thrown overboard on the Santo Andre, and the com- 
plaints he made later, in the letter to Afonso de Albuquerque, 
about his salary. He asked the latter for 50,000 reais more for his 
services as scrivener, besides the 30,000 reais he already received 
as factor or controller of the drugs. He complained also that he 
had been most of the time in bed with fevers. ‘I have been very 
ill, two months in bed’, he says, which shows that he had fallen 
ill just after he had written to his brother. His brother-in-law, 
Diogo Lopes, was living with him in November 1512, but on 
4 Nov. 1513 he had already died and Fires was the executor of 
his will. 

On 6 Jan. 1514 Rui de Brito, Captain of Malacca, wrote to 
King Manuel and to Afonso de Albuquerque telling them that 
in March 1513 he had sent to Java a fleet of four ships to fetch 
spices. The fleet was under the command of Joao Lopes de 
Alvim. Three of the vessels {navios) were the Sdo Cristovdo, the 
Santo Andre and a caravel, commanded respectively by Fran- 
cisco de Melo, Martim Guedes and Joao da Silveira. ‘Tome 
Fires, scrivener of this factory and its accountant, went as factor 
of the fleet and to superintend the cargo’, adds Brito. It sailed 
from Malacca on 14 March and returned on 22 June 1513 with 

* In a letter written from Malacca to Albuquerque on 23 Feb. 1513, F. P. 
Andrade says that the Santo Andre and Santo Cristo arrived during the 
course of events that happened between the day of St. John (24 June) and 
the day of St. James (26 July). Cartas, iii, 54-5. 


about 1,200 quintals of cloves^ From his description of Java 
(fols. 148-55) — ‘as well as I have been able to examine and in- 
vestigate, verifying my facts with many people’ — we see that 
Fires visited the north coast of the island, at least from Cherimon 
to Grisee. When referring to Baros, a port on the north-west 
coast of Sumatra, he says; ‘I went behind this island a matter of 
fifteen leagues.’ This was obviously a different voyage from that 
to Java, but we do not know when it took place. Perhaps Fires 
wrote or at least intended to write another book dealing with the 
‘weights and measures in all the different places’ of the East, as 
he seems to state when referring to the ‘Coins and weights of 
Java’ (fol. 150V.); but if he did, the book is now lost. 

Two documents of 12 Nov. and 24 Dec. 1513 and three others 
of 7 Jan., 12 Jan., and 5 May 1514, show that Fires was then in 
Malacca; on 27 Jan. 1515, the date of Ninachatu's death, he was 
still there, as shown in the last page of the Suma^. But he must 
have left for Cochin soon after that date. In his letter of 8 Jan. 
1515 to King Manuel, Jorge de Albuquerque, the new Captain 
of Malacca, mentions China and Cochin China, and the king- 
doms of Siam, Borneo, Llucoes, and Tamjunpura, where is the 
diamond-mine, ‘as Tome Fires is bringing all these things duly 
explained.’ This refers of course to the Suma Oriental. It seems 
that Fires sailed from Malacca at the same time as this letter, 
immediately after the 27 Jan. 1515, in one of the two ships that 
arrived in Cochin at the end of February. We know of the 
arrival of these two ships through two documents dated 30 (wc) 
February and 3 March 1515, in which Pero de Mascarenhas, 
Captain of Cochin, orders some provisions to be supplied to 
a boat {atalaia) he was sending to Goa with the news from 
Malacca for Afonso de Albuquerque^. 

' Castanheda (in, cxi) and Barros (iii, v, 6) say that Alvim went to Japara 
to fetch some cloves salvaged from a junk shipwrecked there the year before, 
when returning from the first Portuguese expedition to the Spice Islands. 
See p. 521. 

2 Pires says: ‘And if by chance I should not come before the presence of the 
King our Lord, or of the Governor of the Indies’; ‘and that it is most impor- 
tant for the Governor of the Indies to come without delay to Malacca in 
force.’ This seems to imply that he was still writing in Malacca. See note 
p. 287. 

J Cartas, vi, 252-3. 



Return to India and Embassy to China. From the above 
quotation of Jorge de Albuquerque’s letter we see that Fires left 
Malacca with the intention of returning to Portugal. But Fires’ 
fate was written otherwise in the Book of Destiny. Albuquerque 
had sailed from Goa to Ormuz on2iFeb.i5i5 and only returned 
about ten months later, to die before Goa on i6 December. 
Meanwhile the new Governor- General of India, Lopo Soares 
de Albergaria, had left Lisbon with a fleet of thirteen (or fifteen) 
ships at the beginning of April, and arrived at Goa at the begin- 
ning of September 1515. Thence he proceeded to Cannanore 
and Cochin, where he arrived before the end of September. 
With the new Governor came Femao Peres de Andrade, whom 
the King sent as Captain-Major of a fleet to go from India ‘to 
discover China’ and take a Portuguese ambassador there. 

Castanheda informs us that ‘the King of Portugal did not send 
any ambassador [from Portugal], because, thinking that the King 
of China was near, he ordered Femao Peres to send there one of 
his captains, or whoever he might choose. And the Governor 
would not send anyone but this Tome Pires, whom he sent on 
the advice of the noblemen and captains of India, because this 
Tome Pires had been apothecary of the Prince Dom Afonso, and 
was discreet and eager to learn, and because he would know 
better than anyone else the dmgs there were in China’. On the 
other hand Correia says that the Governor, who had gone again 
to Goa and returned to Cochin in Febmary 1516, ‘dispatched 
Femao Peres de Andrade to China according to the orders he 
had brought; and he sent with him one Tome Pires, son of the 
apothecary of King John, who was his great friend, and because 
he was very pmdent, and very curious of knowing all things of 
India’*. Thus it seems that the Governor was already an old 
friend of Pires, a fact that must have influenced him in his 
choice for such an important embassy, in spite of Pires being a 
man of the people, as the chroniclers do not forget to emphasize. 
He must have chosen Pires when he met him on his first arrival 

* It is odd that Correia seems to have forgotten that Pires was already in the 
East when he adds: ‘therefore he embarked and came with him (Andrade) on 
this voyage of China, because in Portugal they talked great things about 
China, which Tom6 Pires was anxious to learn and see, in order to write 
about them, as indeed he did.’ ii, 473. 




Cochin at the end of September. By then Fires certainly was a 
ve^ rich man, and he would have liked to return to Po^gal 
ItZ an absence of nearly five years. But the idea of gomg to see 
for himself that great and mysterious China, of which he had 
heard SO much in Malacca, with new and exceptional possibilities 
of increasing his wealth, must have attracted him powerfully. 
Besides, he may have had a grievance against Albuquerque, 
who used his abilities, but never raised him above the modest 
post of scrivener, in spite of justified complaints and requests. 
Albergaria was an enemy of Albuquerque and, according 
to Correia, a friend of Fires, who perhaps had been strongly 
recommended to him in Lisbon. By that time Fires had finished 
or was finishing the Suma Oriental, which might have impressed 
not only the new Governor, but also many of the ‘noblemen and 
captains of India’ mentioned by Castanheda. It must also not be 
forgotten that Fires, as well as his father, though men of humble 
origin, had been intimately connected with the court, and cer- 
tainly had more education than the great majority of the 
Fortuguese noblemen then in India. In the letter to his brother. 
Fires refers to the ‘pampering in which I was brought up and 
spoiled’. Barros says: ‘the ambassador . . . was called Tome 
Fires, whom Lopo Soares in India had chosen for that post. 
And although he was not a man of very much quality, being an 
apothecary, and serving in India to choose the drugs which 
should come to this Kingdom, he was the most skilled for that 
mission and the best fitted for it; for besides his distinction and 
natural inclination to letters, according to his ability, and his 
liberality and tact in negotiation, he was very curious in enquir- 
ing and knowing things, and he had a lively mind for everything.’ 
Thus, the choice of the modest but clever, industrious, experi- 
enced and well-brought-up Fires for the important post of 
ambassador to unknown China seems less extraordinary than it 
perhaps appeared to some later chroniclers^ 

* Os6rio, De rebus Emmanuelis, lib. xi, and Couto, Decada xil, v, 4, refer 
to the embassy and the ambassador, but do not even mention his name. We 
do not know whether the codex containing the Suma Oriental, now in Pans, 
was in Bishop Osbrio’s possession when he wrote his famous book; but it 
seems that it v as not, otherwise he might have shown more consideration for 

Tomb Pires’ name. 



Though Pires had left Malacca by the end of January 1515 
with the idea of returning to Portugal, his very interesting letter 
of 27 Jan. 1516 ‘about the drugs and where they grow’ shows 
clearly that he no longer thought of going back so soon. From 
this we can gather that before the Governor came again to 
Cochin in February 1516, Pires already knew that he was going 
to China. 

From Cochin to Canton. As soon as Albergaria returned to 
Cochin in February 1516 he despatched Fernao Peres de 
Andrade to China with a fleet of four ships', in which went the 
ambassador Tome Pires. The fleet called first at the port of 
Pase, in Sumatra, where it would be joined by the ship of the 
merchant Joannes Impole (Giovanni da Empoli), a Florentine in 
the Portuguese service, which was there loading with pepper to 
take to China. But Impole’s ship had caught fire and the cargo 
was lost, so Andrade decided that, after calling at Malacca, he 
would go to Bengal before going to China. However, the Cap- 
tain of Malacca, Jorge de Brito, insisted that Andrade should go 
to China with his fleet without delay, because he was worried 
about Rafael Perestrelo, who had gone there the year before in a 
junk with other Portuguese. Reluctantly, because the monsoon 
was too advanced, Andrade sailed to China on 12 Aug. 15162 on 
the ship Santa Barbara^ with Antonio Lobo Falcao in a caravel, 
Manuel Falcao in another ship, and Duarte Coelho in a junk. 
The fleet met adverse weather off the coast of Cochin China and 

' G6is (iv, ii) tells us that Albergaria arrived in Cochin and at once 
despatched Andrade to China; Barros (in, i, 2) says that Albergaria left 
Cochin on 8 Feb. 1516 after despatching Andrade’s fleet to China; Galvao 
(Hak. Soc. ed. p. 129) says that the fleet to China sailed from Cochin in April. 
In a very interesting and still unpublished letter written from Malacca, lo 
Aug. 1518, to King Manuel, Simao de Andrade says that when he arrived in 
Goa, coming from the entrance of the Red Sea, on 20 Jan. 1516, he found 
Albergaria there. Torre do Tombo, Gaveta 15, Ma90 17, no. 27. Nor are the 
chroniclers very clear about the fleet’s composition. Barros (ii, ii, 6) says that 
King Manuel had ordered that it should be of four sail equipped in India; 
Correia (ll, 473) says that Andrade sailed from Cochin in company with 
Simao de Alca^ova, Antonio Lobo Falcao and Jorge de Mascarenhas. How- 
ever, Castanheda (iv, iiii) and G6is {ibid.) mention Falcao alone, ‘and the rest 
of the company he should gather in Malacca.’ 

^ Almost all the chroniclers give this date, but Castanheda says that it 
was 1 5 August. 



the ships were nearly lost. It was mid September and Andrade 
decided to return to Malacca. The junk went to Siam, where 
Duarte Coelho had been before; the other three vessels, after 
taking in fresh water on the coast, sailed south by way of Pulo 
Condore and Patani. 

When Andrade arrived at Malacca he found Perestrelo back 
from China with great profit. He decided to postpone the expe- 
dition to Bengal, and in December went to Pase to load with 
pepper in order to proceed to China as soon as the monsoon 
permitted. In May he returned to Malacca where he found 
that, Jorge de Brito having died, there was a great dispute be- 
tween Nuno Vaz Pereira, Brito’s brother-in-law, and Antonio 
Pacheco, Captain-Major of the Sea, as both wanted to succeed 
as captain of the fortress. After vain efforts to reconcile them, 
Andrade sailed from Malacca in June with a squadron of eight 
ships. Castanheda describes it as follows: Andrade ‘commanded 
the Espera, a ship of about zoo tons, Simao de Alca9ova the 
Santa Cruz, Pero Soares the Santo Andre, Jorge de Mascarenhas 
the Santiago, Jorge Botelho a junk of a Malacca merchant called 
Curiaraja, Manuel de Araujo another junk of [the Malacca mer- 
chant] Pulata, and Antonio Lobo Falcao a junk of his own; and 
it was a fleet of seven sail that left for China’. Barros, however, 
says that there was an eighth ship commanded by Martim 

The squadron arrived at Tamdo or Turnon island^, about the 
middle of the Canton River entrance, on 15 Aug. 1517, after 
meeting a Chinese fleet cruising off the island as a protection 
against the pirates. The Chinese shot at the Portuguese, without 
doing any harm, however, and Andrade did not return the fire, 
giving every demonstration of peace and friendliness. All the 
chroniclers describe, sometimes at great length and with much 
detail, what happened to Andrade and his squadron, from the 
arrival at Tamdo till the ambassador Tome Pires was landed at 

‘ Correia also says seven ships, Galvao and Sousa say eight, and Gdis and 
Osdrio say nine. Gdis’ mistake is that he says that Duarte Coelho went in a 
ship with Andrade; however, when Andrade arrived at Tamao, Coelho had 
been there a month, having sailed directly from Siam where he had gone the 
year before, when he parted from Andrade on the coast of Cochin China. 

2 Lin Tin Island. See note p. 121. 



Canton As soon as he cast anchor at Tamao, Andrade sent a 
message to the captain of ‘the Chinese fleet which came barking 
behind him’, in Barros’ picturesque words, ‘explaining who he 
was and that he was bringing an Embassy of King Manuel of 
Portugal his Lord to the King of China.’ The Chinese captain 
welcomed Andrade and said that ‘through the Chinese who 
went to Malacca he also had news of the good faith and chivalry 
of the Portuguese’, advising him to address himself to the Pei- 
wo (Pio) of Nan-t’ou, ‘a man with a post like that of Admiral 
among us, which was the name of the office and not of the 
person’ 2 . Andrade then sent a message to the Pei-wo — ^who at 
the same time had sent a messenger to enquire from Andrade 
who they were and what they wanted — to inform him ‘that the 
principal reason of his coming was to bring an ambassador whom 
the King of Portugal, whose captain he was, was sending to the 
King of China with letters of peace and friendship, and he asked 
for pilots to take the fleet to the city of Canton’. The Pei-wo 
answered in very kind words, but stating that the permission 
would have to come from the officials in Canton. After many 
messages and delays, Andrade decided to wait no more and to 
go to Canton with some of his ships, using the Chinese pilots he 
had brought from Malacca. But as soon as the ships cleared the 
port they were suddenly struck by a storm, and only with great 
difficulty and much damage could they be saved. The Chinese 
ashore refused any assistance for repairing the Portuguese ships, 
but Andrade did as well as he could, and ‘embarked on the ship 
of Martim Guedes, taking with him that of Jorge de Mascarenhas 
and the boats of the other ships, all very well prepared for peace 
as well as for war, and went to the port of Nan-t’ou, leaving 
Simao de Alca90va as captain in charge of the other vessels. His 

^ Correia, ii, 524 seqq.\ Castanheda, iv, xxviii— xxxi; Barros, iii, ii, 8; Gdis, 
VI, xxiiii. The quotations that follow in the text are from Barros. 

^ ‘The Pei-wo [an abbreviation of the title Pei-wo Tu-chih-hui, a military 
commander whose chief function was to guard the coast against the depre- 
dations of the Japanese pirates] at Nan-t’ou was empowered to examine all 
ships that came to Canton . . . Pei-wo is pronounced pi-wo in the dialect of the 
coastal district, and from pi-wo we have the form of Pio in Portuguese 
accounts and manuscripts.’ T’ien-ts§ Chang, Sino Portuguese Trade from 1514 
to 1644, p. 41. On Nan-t’ou, called Nantoo by Pires and Nanto by the 
chroniclers, see note p. 121. 



purpose was to send, from nearer the Pei-wo, his messages and 
requests to be allowed to proceed to Canton, and if the permis- 
sion was not given, he himself would take it’. Once at Nan-t’ou 
he sent ashore Impole, with trumpeters and a bodyguard, press- 
ing the Pei-wo to let him go to Canton with the ambassador. 
After new delays Andrade ‘set sail, in view of which the Pei-wo 
sent him pilots, who took the Portuguese ships to the city of 
Canton, where they arrived near the end of September with all 
the pomp and festivity he could manage’. The journey up the 
river took three days, because Andrade did not want to travel at 

Arrival at Canton. About nineteen months had elapsed 
since Pires sailed from Cochin before he arrived in front of 
Canton — a voyage that, in favourable conditions, could be made 
in about four months. The chroniclers do not tell us of Pires’ 
reactions to the delays, drawbacks and annoyances he suffered 
during all these months, but one can well imagine his despera- 
tion, impatience and anger. However, that was nothing com- 
pared with what awaited him in China, though the first contacts 
with the Chinese, through the Pei-wo of Nan-t’ou, must have 
given him a foretaste of what was in store. It may also be 
supposed that often Andrade sought Pires’ advice, and that they 
acted in accord. 

Displaying flags and firing a salute with all their artillery, the 
Portuguese ships cast anchor off the main quay, before the 
Huai-yiian post station^ The Pu-cheng-shih or Provincial 
Treasurer, Wu T’ing-chii^, the highest Chinese authority then 
in Canton, remonstrated against what he said were breaches of 
the custom of the land on the part of the Portuguese, who 
furthermore came without official consent. Andrade replied that 
the firing of the artillery and the displaying of flags was due to 
his ignorance, and intended as a mark of respect, and as for his 

* This information is given by a contemporaneous Chinese account of 
Andrade’s arrival at Canton in 1517. The account, published under the Ming 
Dynasty in 1 62 1 in a rather confused and sometimes inaccurate manner, was 
translated by W. F. Mayers, under the title First arrival of the Portuguese in 
China, in Notes and Queries on China and Japan, i, 129-30. Hongkong 1868. 

* Chang, op. cit., p. 42. The Pu-cheng-shih is Barros’ Puchancij and 
Castanheda’s Puchaci. 



coming without consent, he explained that the Pei-wo had after 
all given him permission to come and sent him pilots. The Pu- 
cheng-shih was satisfied and, according to the Portuguese 
chroniclers, sent a message to the ‘Governors’ of the city, the 
Tutam, the Concam and the Chumpim}, who were absent. Mean- 
while Andrade ordered that no Portuguese should go ashore and 
no Chinese visitors should be allowed on board his ships. After 
a short time the three high Chinese dignitaries arrived in Canton 
on different days and with great ceremonial. An interview was 
arranged with the Portuguese. Andrade sent ashore the factor of 
the fleet, accompanied by a suite ‘of people in gala dress, and 
preceded by trumpeters, in order to go with more pomp, as he 
saw that the Chinese were very particular in this sort of thing’. 
The factor told the Chinese ‘Governors’ how King Manuel of 
Portugal, ‘wishing to know of and establish friendship with such 
a great Prince as the King of China, had sent some ships under 
the command of his Captain Fernao Peres de Andrade to bring 
an Ambassador with letters and a present; that the King of 
Portugal had ordered the Ambassador and the present to be 
delivered to the “Governors” of Canton, who could send them to 
the court where their King was. Andrade would return to India, 
and next year another Captain would go there to take back the 
said Ambassador, because by that time he might have accom- 
plished his mission.’ The Chinese ‘Governors’ ‘replied with 
many words of satisfaction . . . and regarding the Ambassador 

* These are the names given by Barros; Castanheda calls them Tutao, 
Conquao and Compim. The question as to what Chinese expressions are 
meant by these old Portuguese versions has been a matter of controversy, and 
it is still not quite settled. But according to Pelliot (Un ouvrage sur les 
premiers temps de Macao, p. 64) it seems that they may correspond to Tu- 
t’ang, Tsung-kuan and Tsung-ping. The meaning of these expressions, Prof. 
A. C. Moule tells me, is: Tu-t'ang — properly an officer in the first department 
of the Board of Censors, but also a title commonly given to a Viceroy {Tsung- 
tu) or provincial Governor {Hsiin-fu); Tsung-ping — Brigadier- General, com- 
mander of the troops in a district called CMn\ Tsung-kuan — commander of 
the troops in a department (or county) or subdepartment, /« or chou\ the post 
was often held by the civil governor of the area concerned. Dalgado deals 
with these names, but his conclusions must be taken with all resen^e. 
Glossdrio Luso-Asidtico, s.v. Tutao, Compim, Conquao. The Tutam or Vice- 
roy was ‘Ch’6n Hsi-hsien, who then resided in Wu-chou in the present 
province of Kwang-si’, Chang, p. 43. 


H.C.S. I. 


they would immediately see that he was lodged ashore, and as 
soon as they received him they would write to their King asking 
for instructions’. Accordingly Pires was disembarked with a 
great thunder of artillery, and trumpets, and the men in gala 
dress, the Ambassador being accompanied by seven Portuguese, 
who remained with him to go on this embassy. They were taken 
to their lodgings, which were some of the noblest houses in the 
city, and the high officials soon came and visited the Ambassa- 
dor.’ The lodgings were the same houses where the Super- 
intendent of the Bureau of Trading-Junks, whose name was 
Ying-hsiang, lived^ The present for the King of China, which 
Correia says ‘should not be opened but in the presence of the 
King’, was put in the same house under lock and key, this being 
entrusted to Pires. The disembarkation of the embassy must 
have been about the end of October 1517. 

After declining several invitations to go ashore, Andrade took 
leave of the ‘Governors’, because he had received news that the 
Portuguese ships in Tamao had been attacked by the pirates, 
though unsuccessfully, and because some of his people in the 
ships in Canton were falling ill with fever and dysentry, and 
nine of them had died, including Impole. This time the Chinese 
helped fully to repair the Portuguese ships, and Andrade des- 
patched Coelho in the junk to Malacca, where he arrived by the 
end of March 1518, ‘with the news of how the Ambassador was 
received, the friendship established with the “Governors” of 
Canton, and how we were welcomed in those parts.’ At the same 
time Jorge Mascarenhas was sent to discover the Liu Kiu 
Islands. After reaching Chang-chou and Fukien, Mascarenhas 
was called back by Andrade, because the latter had received 
news from Malacca, where the help of his squadron was needed, 
and because he knew from the ‘Governors’ of Canton that their 
King had told them that they could send him the Ambassador 
Tome Pires. Before leaving, Andrade made proclamations ‘that 
if anybody had been injuried by or had anything owing to him 
from a Portuguese, let him come to him (Andrade) to obtain all 
satisfaction; which was much praised by the natives, and had 
never before been seen amongst them’. Then Andrade set sail 

* Chang, p. 44. 



with all his squadron in September 1518b after nearly fourteen 
months in China, and arrived at Malacca ‘very prosperous in 
honour and wealth, things rarely secured together’, comments 

From Malacca Andrade went directly to India, and after one 
year there he left in January 1520 for Lisbon, where he arrived 
in July. Gois ends the chapter in which he describes this visit to 
China by saying that Andrade went from Lisbon to Evora, 
where the King and Queen then were, ‘who received him very 
well, and the King asked him very often about the things of 
China, and the other provinces of that region, listening to him 
with much pleasure, because he was curious by nature to know 
what happened throughout the world, in order to gather there- 
from what was most convenient for the government of his 
estate, kingdom and dominions.’ This shows the interest that 
the detailed news of China, brought directly by Andrade and his 
men, aroused in Portugal, and explains how the chroniclers had 
so much material for their lengthy descriptions of Canton, the 
arrival of Pires, and all that happened there with Andrade and 
his squadron. 

In Canton. Barros says that seven Portuguese remained with 
Pires in Canton. In his letter, written in 1524 from Canton, 
Cristovao Vieira informs us, however, that ‘the people that re- 
mained in the company of Tome Pires’ were Duarte Fernandes, 
Francisco de Budoia^, Cristovao- de Almeida, Pedro de Faria 
and Jorge Alvares, all Portuguese; ‘myself, Cristovao Vieira, a 
Persian from Ormuz’, twelve lads and five interpreters; i.e., five 
Portuguese, one Lusitanized Persian and seventeen others. 

In spite of the message sent by the ‘Governors’ of Canton to 
Andrade, before he left Tamdo, that their King had told them 
that they could send him the Portuguese Ambassador, Pires and 
his suite had to wait in Canton for more than fifteen months. 
Further on, Barros adds that ‘only after three messages from 
Canton to the King, and after he had sent three other messages 

* Correia says September, Castanheda the beginning of September, 
Barros the end of September, and G6is says October. 

* Further on spelt Bedois. I know no such name in Portuguese; it suggests 
a copyist’s miswriting for ‘Bulhoes’, a not unusual name in Portugal, or 
‘Budens’, a village near Lagos, in Algarve. 



to the “Governors” of the city, asking in great detail about our 
affairs, did he give the order for the Ambassador to go . When 
Andrade left Pires with the ‘Governors’ of Canton, he told them 
that one year later another Portuguese Captain would come with 
a fleet to fetch the Ambassador. Andrade arrived in India 
about the end of 1518, and the new Governor, Diogo Lopes 
de Sequeira, who took charge of his office on 27 Dec. 1518, 
appointed Antonio Correia, his nephew, to go with a fleet to 
China, obviously for the purpose of bringing back Tome Pires’ 
Embassy. But Simao de Andrade, a brother of Fernao Peres de 
Andrade, had written to the King of Portugal the above- 
mentioned letter of 10 Aug. 1518, dated from Malacca where he 
was then Captain of the Sea, enumerating his services and asking 
to be appointed captain of one of the fortresses of Malacca, Goa 
or Ormuz, or to be awarded some other favour. This letter must 
have followed together with the news brought from China by 
the junk of Duarte Coelho which arrived at Malacca about the 
end of March 1518. The King was certainly well impressed with 
the successful visit of Fernao Peres de Andrade to China, and 
though he did not appoint Simao de Andrade to any fortress, he 
sent him a grant authorizing his going to China as captain of a 
fleet after his brother’s return. Thus Simao de Andrade pro- 
duced the royal grant and was sent to China instead of Antonio 
Correia. In April 1519 he sailed with a ship from Cochin and 
was joined in Malacca by three junks, the captains of which were 
Jorge Botelho, Alvaro Fuzeiro and Francisco Rodrigues, all 
under the command of Andrade. The small fleet arrived at 
Tamao in August of the same year. Contrasting singularly with 
his brother, Simao de Andrade was a man of not much tact and 
the possessor of a temperamental and violent character, features 
that the chroniclers do not fail to emphasize. His substitution for 
Antonio Correia, a man better qualified for that mission, was the 
small twist which sometimes happens in the trend of history, 
and which became the principal cause of the unfortunate end of 
Pires’ Embassy, and of all the misfortunes the Portuguese 
suffered in China for more than thirty years. 

Simao de Andrade expected, quite reasonably, that when he 
arrived at Tamao he would find that Pires was back from the 



embassy to the ‘King of China’. Instead he ascertained that the 
Ambassador had not even left Canton. Pires must have been 
very annoyed with the unbearable Chinese delays, and naturally 
complained to the Portuguese Captain. Accustomed to the pres- 
tige and respect then enjoyed by the Portuguese in the East, 
Andrade certainly resented deeply the Chinese behaviour and 
took it as an affront to Portuguese pride. Not unnaturally, his 
indignation and irritation would be very great. It no doubt 
contributed to the state of mind which led to his regrettable 
misconduct — a point overlooked as much by past as by present- 
day historians, though it seems necessary for a sober judgement 
on this often-discussed point of history. Referring to the delays 
inflicted upon Pires’ embassy, Barros comments: ‘the majesty 
of this Prince (the “King of China”) is such, and the affairs of 
this kind so slow, mainly when foreign people are involved, for 
all is cautions and subtleties, that much patience is needed on 
the part of whoever has to wait for their dilatoriness.’ Patience 
was not Simao de Andrade’s chief virtue, and he committed 
several acts which the Chinese authorites considered as infringe- 
ments of their laws, like the building of a fort of stone and wood 
in TamaOy under the pretext of defence against the pirates, and 
the erection of a gallows on which a seaman was hanged. We do 
not know if these and other more reprehensible acts, such as the 
buying of kidnapped Chinese children, were practised before 
Pires left Canton for Peking, but no doubt they were portentous 
and had a most unfortunate bearing on future events. 

From Canton to Peking. Cristovao Vieira tells us, in his 
letter of 1524, that Pires left Canton for Peking on 23 Jan. I520^ 
Though Barros utilized this letter for compiling his detailed 
description of the embassy’s adventures in China, he received 
information from other sources — one of them, perhaps, being 
Pires himself. It may be taken for granted that Pires wrote 
several times reporting the progress and events of his voyage 
after he left Cochin and at least some of his letters reached India 

* All these dates referring to Pires’ journey to Peking and back to Canton 
are given by Vieira and were utilized by Barros. Gdis (iv, xxv) says, ob- 
viously in error, that Simao de Andrade arrived at Tamao in Aug. 1518, and 
that Pires left Canton in Oct. 1519 and arrived at Peking in Jan. 1520. 


and Lisbon, Correia even says that Fires ‘in the time of the 
Governor [D. Duarte de Menezes, who governed India from 
January 1522 to December 1524J sent him [the Governor] a 
book in which he gave an account of the riches and greatness of 
the King of China, which appeared to be hardly credible’ (ii, 
678). Unfortunately there is no trace of anything written by 
Fires from China. 

The embassy sailed up the river in three Chinese galleys, with 
silken awnings and displaying Fortuguese flags. At the foot of 
the mountain range north of Kwang-tung they left the boats and 
proceeded through the Mei-ling pass in litters, on horseback 
and afoot. Duarte Fernandes, one of Fires’ suite, died in these 
mountains. From there Fires wrote to Simao de Andrade re- 
porting on the progress of his journey. Thence they proceeded 
northward to Nanking, where they arrived in May 1520. The 
Emperor was in that city, but he would not receive the Fortu- 
guese ambassador there, and sent him word to proceed to 
Feking and wait there for his arrival. Through Vieira we know 
that on the 2nd August letters were sent to Canton, which were 
delivered to Jorge Botelho and Diogo Calvo in Tamao. Vasco 
Calvo says that the letters were addressed to D. Aleixo de 
Menezes, and that Jorge Alvares was asked to take them^ We do 
not know the date of Fires’ arrival in Feking, but he was already 
there when the Emperor entered the city in February 1521^. 
While the Emperor was in Nanking, there arrived an ambassador 
sent by the ex-king of Malacca to complain to his suzerain 
against the Fortuguese ‘sea-robbers’ who had taken his king- 
dom, and asking for help as he was the Emperor’s vassal. He 
had brought one letter from his king, and at the same time 
the Emperor received another letter from two mandarins of 
Feking, and yet another from the mandarins of Canton piling up 
complaints against the Fortuguese, mainly on account of the 

* Fol. 130V. Though Calvo wrote Dom Estevao, this is a mistake for Dom 
Aleixo, as will be seen below. Jorge Alvares could not have taken the letter 
because he died in Tamao in 1521. He was the first Portuguese who went to 
China, in 1513, and there he was buried in 1521, as I have shown elsewhere. 
Expansao Portuguesa atraves do Pacifico, p. 164. See notes pp. 120, 283. 

^ G6is (iv, xxv) says that Pires ‘spent four months in the way' from Canton 
to Peking, but he is obviously referring to the time spent in actual travel. 



misdeeds of Simao de Andrade in Tamdo. Furthermore, Pires 
had brought with him three letters for the Emperor from King 
Manuel, Fernao Peres de Andrade and the ‘Governors’ of 
Canton. Andrade’s letter had been mistranslated into Chinese 
by the interpreters; they wrote according to the custom of the 
country, saying among other things that the King of Portugal 
wanted to be a vassal of the Emperor of China. The letter of the 
Canton ‘Governors’ had been written and handed to Pires while 
they were still under the good impression left by Fernao Peres 
de Andrade. When the sealed letter of King Manuel was opened 
and translated in the imperial palace, it was found that its spirit 
was (of course) quite different from that of the letter written by 
the interpreters in the name of Andrade*. The interpreters 
accepted responsibility for Andrade’s letter, but an inquiry was 
opened and all the members of the Embassy were ordered not to 
approach the imperial palace. Though, according to Vieira, the 
Emperor magnanimously said ‘these people do not know our 
customs; gradually they will get to know them’, more charges, 
some of them quite fantastic, were being brought against the 
Portuguese. After telling us that one of the charges was that ‘we 
bought kidnapped children of important people and ate them 
roasted’, Barros comments: ‘They believe this to be true, as 
being about people of whom they had never heard; and we were 
the terror and fear of all that East, so it was not too much to 
believe that we did such things, just as we too think of them and 
other far-flung countries, about which we have but little know- 
ledge.’ Some early Chinese historians go even so far as to give 
vivid details of the price paid for the children and how they were 

Meanwhile the Emperor Wu-tsung died three months after 
his arrival in Peking, and was succeeded by Shih-tsung, a youth 
of fourteen. The embassy was then ordered to withdraw from 
the capital and return to Canton with the presents brought for 
the Emperor, which were refused. Some high officials in the 
court declared that the embassy was not genuine, and wanted 
strong action taken against the Portuguese, maintaining that 

• Vieira gives many details about all these letters. Op. cit., fol. 104. 

^ Chang, p. 48. 



they should die as spies; but their diplomatic status saved them 
for the time being. However, according to Vieira, of the five 
interpreters, one died of sickness and ‘the other four were 
beheaded in Peking for having left the country and brought the 
Portuguese to China’, and their servants were given as slaves to 
the mandarins as having belonged to traitors. 

Back in Canton. Finally Pires and his companions left 
Peking on 22 May and arrived in Canton on 22 Sept. 1521. 
Francisco de Budoia died during the journey. From Peking in- 
structions were sent to Canton that the ambassador and his 
suite should be kept in custody, and that only after the Portu- 
guese had evacuated Malacca and returned it to its king, a 
vassal of the Emperor of China, would the members of the 
embassy be liberated. 

In the meantime, after the departure of Simao de Andrade, 
the ship MadalenUy which belonged to D. Nuno Manuel, coming 
from Lisbon under the command of Diogo Calvo, arrived at 
Tamdo with some other vessels from Malacca, among them the 
junk of Jorge Alvares, which the year before could not sail with 
Simao de Andrade’s fleet, because she had sprung a leak. When 
the instructions issued from Peking against the Portuguese 
arrived in Canton, together with the news of the death of the 
Emperor, the Chinese seized Vasco Calvo, a brother of Diogo 
Calvo, and other Portuguese who were in Canton trading ashore. 
On 27 June 1521 Duarte Coelho arrived with two junks at 
Tamdo. Besides capturing some of the Portuguese vessels, the 
Chinese blockaded Diogo Calvo’s ship and four other Portu- 
guese vessels in Tamdo with a large fleet of armed junks. A few 
weeks later Ambrosio do Rego arrived with two other ships. As 
many of the Portuguese crews had been killed in the fighting, 
slaughtered afterwards or taken prisoners, by this time there 
were not enough Portuguese for all the vessels, and thus Calvo, 
Coelho and Rego resolved to abandon the junks in order the 
better to man the three ships. They set sail on 7 September and 
were attacked by the Chinese fleet, managing however to escape, 
thanks to a providential gale which scattered the enemy junks, 
and arrived at Malacca in October 1521. Vieira mentions other 
junks which arrived in China with Portuguese aboard; all were 



attacked, and the entire crews were killed fighting or were taken 
prisoners and slaughtered later. From Diogo Calvo’s ship there 
remained, besides Vasco Calvo, seven other Portuguese and four 
servants, who escaped the slaughter because they said that they 
belonged to Pires’ embassy. But many others died in prison, 
some of hunger, many strangled, ‘after carrying boards stating 
that they should die as sea-robbers’, one struck on the head with 
a mallet, and others beaten to death. 

Pires and his companions arrived at Canton a fortnight after 
the three Portuguese ships had escaped from Tamao^ and they 
found themselves in a most difficult position. They were immedi- 
ately summoned to the presence of the Pochanci^^ and Pires was 
told to write to the Portuguese in Malacca telling them to return 
the country to its ex-king. Let Vieira describe for us what then 
happened: ‘Tome Pires replied that he had not come for that 
purpose, nor was it meet for him to discuss such a matter; that it 
would be evident from the letter he had brought that he had 
no knowledge of anything else. . . . With these questions he kept 
us on our knees for four hours; and when he had tired himself 
out, he sent each one back to the prison in which he was kept. 
On 14 August 1522 the Pochanci put fetters on the hands of 
Tome Pires, and on those of the company he put fetters, and 
irons on their feet, the fetters soldered on their wrists; and they 
took from us all the property that we had. Thus, with chains on 
our necks, and through the city, they took us to the house of the 
AnchacP. There they knocked off our fetters and put on us 
stronger chains; on our legs fetters were soldered, and chains on 
our necks; and from there they sent us to this prison. At the 
entrance to this prison Antonio de Almeida died from the heavy 
fetters that we bore; our arms were swollen, and our legs cut by 
the tight chains. This, with a decision that two days afterwards 
they would kill us. Before it was night, they put fetters once 
more on Tome Pires and conducted him alone, barefoot and 
without a cap, amid the bootings of boys, to the prison of 
Kuang-chou-fu {Cancheufu), in order to see the goods that they 
had taken from us, which had to be described; and the mandarin 

* Pu-cheng-shih or Provincial Treasurer. Cf. Ferguson, p. 51. 

^ An-ch’a-shih or Provincial Judge. Cf. Chang, p. 56. 



clerks who were present wrote down ten and stole three hundred 
. . . The goods that they took from us were twenty quintals of 
rhubarb, one thousand five hundred or six hundred rich pieces 
of silk, a matter of four thousand silk handkerchiefs which the 
Chinese call sheu-pa {xopas) of Nanking, and many fans, and 
also three arrohas of musk in powder, one thousand three hun- 
dred pods of musk, four thousand odd taels of silver and seventy 
or eighty taels of gold and other pieces of silver, and all the 
cloths, pieces of value, both Portuguese and Chinese, the pachak 
of Jorge Botelho, incense, liquid storax, tortoise-shells, also 
pepper and other triflesb These were delivered into the factory 
of Kuang-chou-fu as the property of robbers. The present of 
our Lord the King which he sent to the King of China is in the 
factory of the Pochanci’ (fols. 106-7). Ferguson sums up thus: 
‘After a farcical show of respect for the members of the embassy, 
extending over ten months, these were all imprisoned, and the 
whole of their property and the presents from the king of Portu- 
gal to the emperor were confiscated, the lion’s share, as might be 
expected, falling to the mandarins’^. Fernao Mendes Pinto tells 
us that in 1541 he saw the mandarin of Nouday ‘mounted on a 
good horse, with certain cuirasses of red velvet with gilt studs of 
ancient date, which we afterwards learnt belonged to one Tome 
Pires, whom the King Dom Manuel of glorious memory sent as 
ambassador to China, in the ship of Fernao Peres de Andrade, 
when Lopo Soares de Albergaria was governing the State of 
India’ 3 . 

Meanwhile from India, where the news of this state of affairs 
had not yet arrived, another fleet of four ships under the com- 
mand of Martim Afonso de Melo Coutinho sailed for China in 
April 1522. Coutinho had left Lisbon just one year before, com- 
missioned by Dom Manuel with a message of good-will to the 

1 This is according to the Lisbon original fragments of Vieira’s letter. 
Barros (in, vi, 2), following the Paris MS (ff. 106-7), gives a slightly different 
list (see p. xlvi below) of the goods confiscated. But instead of saying, like 
Vieira, that the goods were taken from them, he says that they were taken 
from him (Pires). This alteration was perhaps the reason for Sousa’s unfair 
comment (i, iii, 6). There would be nothing extraordinary in all those goods 
belonging to Pires, who had already amassed a considerable fortune even 
before going to China; and after all the goods did not belong exclusively to him. 

2 Op. cit., pp. 18-19. ^ Peregrinagao, Lxv. 



Emperor of China, for which purpose he carried another am- 
bassador with him. He arrived at Malacca in July and there he 
learned of the misfortunes that had happened to the Portuguese 
in China. Nevertheless he determined to continue his journey, 
accompanied by another ship and a junk with Ambrosio do Rego 
and Duarte Coelho, who reluctantly and only under pressure 
from Jorge de Albuquerque, then Captain of Malacca, con- 
sented to go back to China, where the year before they had had 
a narrow escape, as seen above. Coutinho’s fleet of six sail left 
Malacca on lo July and arrived at Tamdo in August 1522. 
They were soon attacked by the Chinese fleet. The Portuguese 
had many men killed and taken prisoners, two ships and the 
junk were lost, and after vain efforts to re-establish relations 
with the Cantonese authorities, Coutinho returned with the 
other ships to Malacca, where he arrived in the middle of 
October 1522. Though some chroniclers put the blame on the 
Chinese, Chang quotes Chinese sources which assert that the 
Portuguese should be held responsible for the outbreak of 
hostilities ^ 

According to Vieira the mandarins again ordered that Pires 
should write a letter to the King of Portugal, which the ambas- 
sador of the ex-king of Malacca should take to Malacca, in order 
that his country and people might be returned to their former 
master; if a satisfactory reply did not come, the Portuguese 
ambassador would not return. A draft letter in Chinese was sent 
to the imprisoned Portuguese, from which they wrote three 
letters, for King Manuel, the Governor of India and the Captain 
of Malacca. These letters were delivered to the Cantonese 
authorities on i Oct. 1522. The Malay ambassador was not 
anxious to be the courier, nor was it easy to find another. At 
last a junk with fifteen Malays and fifteen Chinese sailed from 
Canton on 31 May 1523 and reached Patani. In his letter of 
I Jan. 1524 to King Manuel, Jorge de Albuquerque, Captain of 
Malacca, says that D. Sancho Henriques, Captain-major of the 
Sea at Malacca, had gone to blockade Bintang at the beginning 
of July 1523, and thence went to Patani with Ambrosio do Rego 
and another ship to wait for a Portuguese junk that was in Siam, 

^ Op. ciu, p. 59. 



‘and to learn news from China from the Chinese that come 
there.’ Ambrosio do Rego returned first to Malacca with news, 
which he learned from ‘an interpreter who acted between the 
Chinese and Portuguese when they were at peace. He told him 
that there were living [in Canton] from eight to thirteen Portu- 
guese, and it was not certain how many, because one said eight 
and another thirteen; and that they said that the ambassador 
Tome Pires was still living. A message came to the king of Bin- 
tang from his ambassador [in Canton], and the man who brought 
it soon returned. The report which the king of Bintang was 
spreading in the country is that the Chinese intended to come 
against Malacca. This is not very certain, though there are 
things that may happen. If they come, they will do great harm, 
unless the Captain-major [of India] shall come in time, as I am 
writing to him. However, in my opinion they will not do so, as 
they also say in China that they desire peace with us’*. This 
document sheds some light on the matter. It is obvious that the 
three letters brought in the junk from Canton never reached 
their destination, being very probably retained by agents of the 
ex-king of Malacca, a master intriguer who had plenty of reasons 
for hating the Portuguese, and perhaps even Pires in particular. 
The man who brought a message to the king of Bintang ‘soon 
returned’, says Jorge de Albuquerque. Vieira tells us that the 
junk ‘returned with a message from the king of Malacca, and 
reached Canton on the 5th September’ (fol. i lov.). We do not 
know what the message was, but we may well guess, for, as 
Vieira states, ‘On the day of St. Nicholas [6 Dec.] in the year 
1522 they put boards on them [the Portuguese prisoners] with 
the sentence that they should die and be exposed in pillories as 
robbers. The sentences said: “Petty sea robbers sent by the great 
robber falsely; they come to spy out our country; let them die in 
pillories as robbers.” A report was sent to the king according to 
the information of the mandarins, and the king confirmed the 
sentence. On 23 Sept. 1523 these twenty- three persons were 
each one cut in pieces, to wit, heads, legs, arms, and their private 
members placed in their mouths, the trunk of the body being 
divided into two pieces round the belly. In the streets of Canton, 

* Cartas, iv, 41-2. 



outside the walls, in the suburbs, through the principal streets 
they were put to death, at distances of one crossbow shot from 
one another, that all might see them, both those of Canton and 
those of the environs, in order to give them to understand that 
they thought nothing of the Portuguese, so that the people 
might not talk about Portuguese. Thus our ships were captured 
through two captains not agreeing, and so all in the ships were 
taken, they were all killed, and their heads and private members 
were carried on the backs of the Portuguese in front of the 
mandarins of Canton with the playing of musical instruments 
and rejoicing, were exhibited suspended in the streets, and were 
then thrown into the dunghills. And from henceforward it was 
resolved not to allow any more Portuguese into the country nor 
other strangers’ (fol. 109). 

Vieira’s letter, probably finished in November 1524, says that 
of all the Portuguese only he and Vasco Calvo were still alive, 
and that ‘Tome Pires died here of sickness in the year 1524 in 
May’. This date, however, cannot be accepted without much 
reserve, as we shall see. 

Vieira’s and Calvo’s Letters. The copies of the two letters 
from Cristovao Vieira and Vasco Calvo extant in the Biblio- 
theque Nationale in Paris were probably made in the second 
half of the sixteenth century. Though the letters in these copies 
are dated 1534 and 10 Nov. 1536, it is not difficult to show that 
they were both written in 1524, Vieira’s being finished just a little 
before Calvo finished his on the loth November. The two letters, 
besides being very important for the study of Pires’ biography, 
are outstanding documents in the history of the first European 
relations with China; the date at which they were written is there- 
fore important, and it is time that this point was cleared up. 

In the first place neither of the letters refers to any event later 
than 1524; it is extremely unlikely that during the ten or twelve 
years between 1524 and the supposed dates of the letters nothing 
worth mentioning had happened. There are two points in the 
letters suggesting that they were written after 1524, but they are 
copyist’s mistakes. In Vieira’s letter it is stated: ‘In the year 
1524 they equipped a fleet of salt junks which they took by force; 
and until the year 1528 they prepared fleets’ (fol. ii8v.). 1528 is 



a copyist’s mistake for 1523. Further on Vieira asks for a Portu- 
guese fleet to be sent to China, and adds: ‘The first thing will be 
to destroy the [Chinese] fleet if they should have one, which I 
believe they have not’ (fol. i22v.). Similar mistakes are frequent 
in the letter. For instance, the heading of Vieira’s letter says 
that Fernao Peres de Andrade reached China in 1520, though he 
arrived in 1517. On fol. io8v. it is stated that Martim Afonso de 
Melo Coutinho went from Malacca to China in 1521, but in 
fol. 1 21 it is correctly said that he arrived in 1522. In the Paris 
copy it is said that among the goods taken from the Portuguese 
by the Chinese were ‘three thousand and odd pods of musk, four 
thousand five hundred taels of silver’ (fol. 107), but in the Lis- 
bon original fragments it reads ‘one thousand three hundred 
pods of musk, four thousand and odd’ [taels of silver]. The 
Paris copy states that ‘sixty died in the ship’ (fol. io8v.), while 
the Lisbon fragments say correctly that ‘seven died in the ship’. 
Where the Paris copy says ‘On the 23rd of September 1523 these 
twenty-four persons’ (fol. 109), the Lisbon fragments say ‘On the 
24th September 1523 these 24 persons’. Where the Paris copy 
says ‘thirty leagues’ (fol. ii2v.) the Lisbon fragments say ‘forty 
leagues’. Where the Paris copy says ‘some eight to ten leagues’ 
(fol. 1 13), the Lisbon fragments say ‘twenty to thirty leagues’. 

The other point is in Calvo’s letter: ‘Let these letters. Sir, 
be shown to the captains-major; let them not be kept secret. Sir; 
for if Jorge Alvares had shown the letters that he took to Dom 
Estevao and they had known about us, I am confident that we 
should not have remained here in this prison either dead or alive. 
Within two years either the governor would have sent, or from 
Malacca something would have been ordered by means of which 
we should have been rescued from here’ (fol. 130V). Ferguson' 
thought that this ‘Dom Estevao’ was Dom Estevao da Gama, 
the son of Dom Vasco da Gama, who in 1534 was captain of 
Malacca and in 1540-2 was Governor General of India. But 
there is another mistake here: the copyist wrote ‘Dom Estevao’ 
where the original must have had ‘Dom Aleixo’. Dom Aleixo de 
Menezes, nephew of the Governor- General Lopo Soares de 
Albergaria, went with a fleet to Malacca in 1518 and in 1520 he 

’ Op. cit., pp. 29 and 157. 



was acting Governor- General of India while the Governor- 
General Diogo de Sequeira went to the Red Sea'. In 1521 Dorn 
Aleixo was in Cochin where he despatched several ships for 
Malacca and China, among which probably was the ship of 
Diogo Calvo that arrived at Tamao in 1521. There was not then 
any ‘Dom Estevao’ in India to whom letters could have been 
sent. The letters in question may be those written 2 Aug. 1520 
from Nanking, or Peking, mentioned above, and perhaps some 
more written by Vasco Calvo from Canton. The reference to 
Jorge Alvares, who died 8 July 1521 in Tamao (a fact unknown 
to Calvo), as taking the letters to ‘Dom Estevao’ (da Gama) who 
arrived for the first time in India ii Sept. 1524, is an insuper- 
able anachronism. Many similar mistakes were committed by 
the copyist. For instance, in the heading of Vieira’s letter he 
wrote that it is from Critovao Vieira and Vasco Calvo, and in the 
heading of Calvo’s letter he wrote that it is from Cristdvao 
Vieira. A collation of the Paris copy with the Lisbon original 
fragments of Vieira’s letter reveals many such mistakes. 

In the above quoted passage Calvo shows his surprise because 
within two years nothing had been done to rescue him and his 
fellow prisoners. It is obvious that he referred to letters written 
after he had been made a prisoner, which he reckoned were 
received in 1522; thus he was writing in 1524. There is evidence 
in his letter that he wrote at the same time as Vieira: ‘where 
Cristdvao Vieira writes’ (fol. 132V.), he says; ‘as Cristdvao 
Vieira relates in these letters’ (fol. 133); ‘proposals after the 
tenor of those set forth in the letters of Cristovao Vieira’ (fol. 
134V.); ‘Cristdvao Vieira has written with one of our pens’ 
(fol. 135V.). Other points in the letter might be interpreted as 
confirming the dates of 1534 and 1536; their careful examina- 
tion, however, shows that they do not contradict the date 1524. 
Above all there is Barros’ testimony. There is no doubt that the 

’ Barros, iii, iii, 10. In a letter written from Cochin, 2 Nov. 1520, to King 
Manuel, the Auditor of India, Pedro Gomes Teixeira, says that during 
Sequeira’s absence the government was divided between ‘Dom Aleixo, in 
charge of the finance and administration of the sea, and Captain Rui de Melo, 
in charge of the people ashore’. This important and lengthy document was 
published for the first time by A. Cortesao and H. Thomas, Carta das Novas, 
pp. 127-38. 



chronicler utilized the two letters in the composition of the 
chapters in which he describes these events. It is Barros himself 
who says; ‘And according to the two letters that we received two 
or three years later (after the return of Fires to Canton and his 
imprisonment) from these two men, Vasco Calvo and Cristovao 
Vieira, who were in prison in Canton.’ This is quite positive, 
and coupled with the evidence contained in the letters them- 
selves, leaves no doubt about their date; they were both written 
in 1524 and perhaps both finished in November; the dates 1534 
and 1536 are the copyist’s mistake. 

It is surprising that Ferguson, after translating and editing 
the two letters so carefully, did not notice that their dates could 
not be 1534 and 1536, though he expresses amazement at some 
of the anachronisms and incongruities above mentioned, which 
he tried in vain to explain or could not understand at all. Neither 
have those who consulted and quoted Ferguson’s work noticed 
or mentioned them. 

After 1524. Though Vieira says that ‘Pero de Freitas in this 
prison and Tome Fires died of sickness in the year 1524 in May’ 
(fol. 1 12), he asks further on for a Portuguese fleet of ten or fif- 
teen ships to be sent to China, and that its captain should write 
to the Chinese authorities demanding the release of Tome Fires 
— ‘Let the ambassador be sent to me before I arrive in Canton’ 
(fol. 123). This, however, might have meant that the Portuguese 
captain was to pretend that he did not know of Fires’ death. It 
may also be that the sentence was badly written or badly copied, 
as in many other instances, and that its true meaning was — 
‘Pero de Freitas was in this prison with Tome Fires, and he 
(Pero de Freitas) died here of sickness. . . .’ But the more likely 
meaning is — ‘Pero de Freitas died in this prison, and Tome 
Pires died of sickness [somewhere else] in May 1524.’ As a 
matter of fact Vieira shows in other parts of the letter that he 
seemed convinced that Pires was dead. 

Only Vieira refers, and not very clearly, to Pires’ death in 
1524. Barros says that after Coutinho’s ship escaped from 
TamaOy the Chinese ‘made many of our people prisoners’, and 
that ‘they finally killed Tome Pires, and also those taken 
prisoner with him, and total war then existed between us and 



them. And according to what some of our people afterwards 
wrote, more died of hunger in prison and the bad treatment they 
received there, than by condemnation.’ The executions took 
place only after the confirmation from the Emperor had arrived 
at Canton in September 1523. Though Barros is obviously 
referring to Vieira’s letter, he does not mention the date of 
Fires’ death. Castanheda, who at the time was in India, says that 
the King of China ‘ordered the arrest of our ambassador and 
those who were with him, and ordered that they should be kept 
separated from one another, and that all their goods should be 
confiscated; and some say that the ambassador fell ill with grief 
and died; and others say that he died by poison. And because I 
was not able to learn the particulars of these [events], I relate it 
briefly in this manner.’ However, Correia, who for almost all 
those years was also in India, says quite positively — ‘It was the 
King (of China)’s pleasure to order the arrest of our ambas- 
sador, and that he should be taken to another town, where he 
lived for a long time {e leuar a outra terra etn que esteue muyto 
tempo), till it should be the King’s pleasure to speak to him; but 
he never more let him come back, and there he died.’ 

Now Fernao Mendes Pinto says in the Peregrinafdo (xci) 
that when in 1543 he passed through the town of Sampitay, on 
his way from Nanking to Peking, he met a Christian woman 
who, after showing a cross tattooed on her arm and inviting him 
and his companions to her house, told them ‘that her name was 
Ines de Leiria, and that her father was called Tome Pires, who 
went from this kingdom [i.e. Portugal] as ambassador to the 
King of China, but because of a disturbance that a captain of 
ours made in Canton the Chinese regarded him as a spy and not 
as an ambassador as he said, and seized him with twelve other 
men he had with him, and after they had sentenced them and 
subjected them to many floggings and tortures, of which five 
soon died, they banished the others, separated from one 
another, to divers places, where they died devoured by lice; 
only one of them was living, who was called Vasco Calvo, a 
native of a place in our country named Alcochete, for so she had 
many times heard from her father, shedding many tears when 
he spoke of this. And that it chanced to her father to be banished 

^ H.C.S. I. 



to that district where he married her mother, because she had 
some property of her own, and made her a Christian; and during 
the whole twenty-seven years that he abode there married to her 
they both lived very catholically, converting many heathen to 
the faith of Christa’ When living in Almada, opposite Lisbon, 
on the other side of the Tagus, Pinto was visited in October 1582 
by the Jesuits G. Maffei, J. Rebelo and G. Gon9alves, who went 
to gather from him some information about China and Japan. 
Maffei left a note recording the conversation they had with 
Pinto, in which, among other things, we read — ‘He says that 
there are some other traces of Christianity in China, which are 
relics of Tome Pires, the first ambassador to go there and who 
died in China, and of his companions. He says that a daughter 
of [one of] these [men]^ in memory of her father’s Christianity 
had a cross tattooed on her arm near her hand, and when she met 
some Portuguese she tucked up her sleeve and showed the cross, 
saying in Portuguese the only part she knew of the Paternoster, 
which produced amazement and tears on either side. She was 
rich and sheltered them in her house. Of the same company 
there was also in the city of Kwang-si {Cansi), before it was 
destroyed by the Tartars, a certain Portuguese married to a 
Chinese woman with four children.’ Pinto describes also how in 
1544 he encountered in the town of Quansi, not far from Peking, 
an old man who, after some incidents, told him: ‘I am, my 
brother, a poor Portuguese Christian, by name Vasco Calvo, 
brother of Diogo Calvo who was captain of the ship of D. Nuno 
Manuel, a native of Alcochete; and it is now twenty-seven years 
since I was made a captive with Tome Pires, whom Lopo Soares 
sent as ambassador to this Chinese King, and who afterwards 
came to a disastrous end due to a disturbance of a Portuguese 
captain’ . . . Then ‘he began again telling me about all his life, 

' Peregrinafdo, cxvi. 

^ The Portuguese rendering is not very clear. Though it is not expressly 
stated here that the father was Pires, the Peregrinagdo is quite positive on the 
subject. This note was found by the learned Orientalist Rev. G. Schur- 
hammer, S.J., among Maffei ’s papers in an archive of the Society of Jesus. 
Schurhammer published it for the first time under the title Um documento 
inedito sobre Fernao Mendes Pinto in Revista de Historia, xiii, 8i-8, Lisboa 
1924, and then translated it into German in his work Fernao Mendez Pinto 
und seine ‘ Peregrinagam', pp. 35-42, Leipzig 1927. 



and all the rest of his adventures, since he left this kingdom until 
then, and also about the death of the ambassador Tome Pires 
and of the others whom Fernao Peres de Andrade left with him in 
Canton to go to the King of China, which, according to what he 
told me, does not very well agree with what our chroniclers write’ ^ . 

Faria e Sousa was the first chronicler to use Pinto’s informa- 
tion in a full chapter rectifying what he, following Barros, had 
written before about the supposed death of Pires in Canton^. 
Then Abel-Remusat^, in 1829, gives an account of Pires’ adven- 
tures in China in part based also on Pinto’s information. R. H. 
Major, in his excellent Introduction (p. xxxvii) to Mendoza’s 
History of China, quotes Remusat’s account in order to com- 
plete Mendoza’s description of Pires’ embassy, which is more or 
less based on Barros, and defends Pinto against William Con- 
greve’s lines in his Love for Love (1695) ‘Ferdinand Mendes 
Pinto was but a type of thee, thou liar of the first magnitude’^. 
Commenting on Major’s defence of Pinto, Ferguson writes; ‘I 
am astonished that such an able scholar as Mr. Major, in his 
Introduction to the Hakluyt Society’s edition of Mendoza, 
should, after referring to Mendez Pinto’s alleged adventures in 
China, conclude: “Upon the whole, his remarks leave no doubt, 
we think, of the truth of his having been an eye-witness of what 
he records” ’ (p. 36n). For Ferguson all that Pinto says about 
Pires is ‘fabrication’, ‘unblushing falsehood’, ‘mendacity’. No 
less surprising is a similar attitude assumed by another out- 
standing scholar, Henri Cordier. After transcribing part of 
Remusat’s account of the encounters of Pinto with Ines de 
Leiria and Vasco Calvo, Cordier, without giving any reason 

' Peregrina(ao, cxvi. 

^ When, at the end of the preliminaries to his Asia Portuguesa, vol. i, Sousa 
mentions the books he utilized, he says: ‘Many doubt the veracity of Fernao 
Mendes Pinto’s Historia Indica; but as many, who travelled through those 
parts, say that he could have told things still more difficult to believe. I hold 
him to be very truthful, for many compelling reasons; but if he is not, it is in 
things which are outside my province.’ 

3 Nouveaux Melanges Asiatiques, ii, 203-6. 

It must be said that Congreve puts the taunt at Pinto in the mouth of 
Foresight, the fool in the play, ‘an illiterate old fellow, peevish and positive, 
superstitious, and pretending to understand Astrology, Palmistry, Physi- 
ognomy, Omens, Dreams, etc.’ 


whatever, dismisses the whole question in six words: ‘Pinto 
mentait et Remusat se trompait^’ 

Can this matter be dismissed so summarily? As pointed out 
above, Barros does not mention any special date for Pires’ death, 
though he was following Vieira’s letter which states that Pires 
died in May 1524; and the copy of Vieira’s letter, published by 
Ferguson, is full of mistakes of every kind. Castanheda, who in 
1528 went to India where he lived for about ten years, shows 
that he does not know anything positive about Pires’ death and 
still less its date; but he asserts that the order for the arrest of 
Pires and his companions determined that ‘they should be kept 
separated from one another’. Correia, who in 1512 went to India 
and lived there for many years (in India, where he died, he wrote 
the Lendas), occupying such posts as that of Afonso de Albu- 
querque’s secretary, says, quite positively, that after Pires’ arrest 
in Canton he was taken to another town where he lived for a 
long time. Furthermore, Ferguson himself quotes the contem- 
porary Chinese source, mentioned by Mayers in Notes and 
Queries, in which it is stated that ‘the interpreter was subjected 
to capital punishment and his men were sent back in custody to 
Canton, and expelled beyond the frontiers of the province’. 
Mayers says in a footnote that by the interpreter in question 
Tome Pires himself was meant. Ferguson, basing his statement 
on Vieira’s letter, declares that this is an error: ‘it was the native 
interpreters who were beheaded.’ Cordier (p. 521), however, 
agrees with Mayers’ interpretation. What seems more probable 
is that the confusing reference means that the interpreters were 
beheaded, and the Portuguese who escaped death were expelled 
from Canton province. As has already been shown, it seems 
from what Vieira says that Pires was in another prison, and it 
is not clear that he meant that the ambassador had died also. 
Besides, it is rather strange that Vieira should give so much 
detailed information about the death of his other companions and 
be so brief about the death of the most important of the Portu- 
guese in Canton — the ambassador himself. He does not even say 
the day on which the death occurred, or what happened to the 
body. Pires was in another prison, and obviously Vieira obtained 

‘ UArrivee des Portugais en Chine, p. 520. 



his information second-hand. That Vieira and Calvo were not 
very well informed is shown, among other things, by their 
ignorance of the death of Jorge Alvares in 1521 in Tamao. It is 
quite possible that the Chinese purposely deceived Vieira, tell- 
ing him that Pires had died, when in fact he was sent out of 
Canton according to the instructions from Peking. Against 
Vieira’s doubtful statement there is some fairly positive evidence 
to show that it is unjustifiable to label Pinto’s information as 
‘unblushing falsehood’. 

An important point overlooked by Ferguson in Vieira’s letter 
was this — ‘The women of the interpreters as also those of Tome 
Pires that were left in this city in the present year were sold as 
the property of traitors’ (fol. 112). If Pires had ‘women’ before 
1524, and was about fifty when he arrived at Canton in 1517, 
there is nothing so extraordinary in the fact of Pinto meeting in 
1543 a woman who told him she was a daughter of the unfor- 
tunate Portuguese ambassador and a Chinese woman. As regards 
Pinto’s meeting with Calvo, Ferguson based his assertion of 
‘mendacity’ mainly on the supposition of Calvo’s letter having 
been written in 1536. After what has been said above it is more 
reasonable to assume that Pinto was truthful than to say, as 
Ferguson did — ‘We may take it as absolutely certain that Vasco 
Calvo died in prison in Canton within a year or two of writing 
the letter of 1536’.* There is, however, an obvious incongruity 
in Pinto’s statement that Ines de Leiria told him that Pires had 
been married to her mother for twenty-seven years, which is 
repeated when he reports that Calvo told him that twenty-seven 
years had elapsed since he and Pires were made captives; as 

* Op. cit., p. 38. Ferguson does not give the reason for his ‘absolute 
certainty’. In the introduction to his edition of the Peregrinagao (Lisboa 1908) 
J. I. de Brito Rebelo had already remarked (p. xxiv) that Ferguson had over- 
looked the reference in Vieira’s letter to ‘the women of the interpreters and 
also those of Tom^ Pires’ and the groundless though peremptory assertion 
about Vasco Calvo. Ferguson’s bias against Pinto is only too evident. On 
Pinto’s references to the terrible massacre of the Portuguese by the Chinese 
in Liampo and Chang-chou (CMncheo) in 1545 and 1549, Ferguson com- 
ments; ‘I consider both these stories to be pure fiction, without any basis in 
fact ; and I even feel very doubtful whether such an island as “ Lampacau ’ ’ ever 
existed except in the brain of the writer’ (p. 39). Pires was right, however, as 
has been recognized by Cordier himself (op. cit., p. 523) among others. 


their arrest happened in 1522, only twenty-two years had 
elapsed, not twenty-seven. This inaccuracy seems more strange 
because Pinto shows that he read what the chroniclers had 
written on the matter, and he could easily have checked his 
reckoning'. On the other hand, if Pinto really wanted to invent 
a whole story about Pires, for the purpose of deceiving his 
readers, he could easily have made it more true to life by adjust- 
ing his description to the Chroniclers’ accounts and mentioning 
Vieira, about whom he says nothing. That he did not do so is 
one more proof of Pinto’s good faith. Pinto returned from the 
East to Portugal in 1558, and only began writing the Pere- 
grinagao eleven or so years later; after so many adventures it is 
not likely that he had been able to keep a book of notes, at least 
of that early period^. He was writing from memory — and a 
wonderful memory it was. It is not surprising that due to a 
lapsus memoriae or even a simple lapsus calami he wrote twenty- 
seven instead of twenty-two years. 

Ines de Leiria’s account, as Pinto has transmitted it to us, 
needs also some sort of adjustment in one or two minor points. 
As regards the inaccuracies it must be borne in mind that she 
spoke to Pinto in Chinese, because she knew only a few words of 
Portuguese, and after more than twenty-six years Pinto can be 
excused for committing a few not very serious mistakes when 
writing from memory. He could not even remember the year of 
Pires’ death, which Ines de Leiria and Calvo must have told 
him; if he really wanted to deceive he could invent one date 
more. Ines’ mother may have been one of the women of Tome 
Pires, referred to by Vieira as having been ‘sold as the property 
of traitors’ in 1524. When in 1520 Pires went from Nanking to 
Peking by the Grand Canal, and also on his return some months 
later, he passed by the city of Sampitay, as Pinto did twenty- 

' Pinto did not begin to write the Peregrinagao before 1569; both Livro v 
of Castanheda’s Historia and Barros’ Decada in were published for the first 
time in 1554 and 1563 respectively. Brito Rebelo, still convinced that Pires 
really died in Canton in 1524, thinks that when the MS of the Peregrinagao 
‘ corrected’, before its publication, ‘the correctors transferred to the father 
the period of time which really referred to the daughter.’ Loc. cit. 

^ Pinto however refers in chapters cv, cvi and cvii to ‘a small book called 
Aquesedo dealing with the greatness of Peking, which I brought to this 



three years later. It is likely that on one of those occasions 
Pires met the mother of the future Ines. We do not know where 
he went when banished from Canton in 1524, but it would not 
be difficult for him to find his way to Sampitay, where Ines’ 
mother ‘had some property of her own’. Though Pinto does not 
tell us the year of Pires’ death, it seems from his account that 
Pires had died a few years before Pinto met Ines de Leiria, per- 
haps not long before 1540. Pires certainly tried to communicate 
with Malacca but, it seems, unsuccessfully, for during twenty 
years or so after 1524 the Portuguese unfortunately were not 
allowed into China, and communications with the outside world 
became much more difficult; though it may not have been 
impossible for Pires to send some letter or other message out of 
China, it was by no means an easy thing. 

Sampitay. As regards Sampitay it is possible to deduce from 
Pinto’s account that it corresponds to the present town of P’ei 
chou or Hsin-p’ei-chou, a place near the northern limit of 
Kiangsu province. The frequency with which Chinese place- 
names change through the centuries, makes the identification of 
those mentioned in early accounts sometimes extremely difficult. 
Perplexities such as we find in Pinto’s account of his journey 
from Nanking to Peking occur in more or less every early 
account. Pinto’s journey, as described in chaps. Lxxxvii-c of 
the PeregrinafaOy can be summarized as follows: With his eight 
Portuguese companions and thirty or forty other captives, Pinto 
embarked on a lantea (a swift rowing boat) and left Nanking 
early one morning. At sunset they moored at the village of Ntn- 
hacutem, which was the native place of the guardian or man in 
charge of them, the Chifu, as he was called, where they remained 
for three days. He refers to the ‘impetuous current’ of the river 
(Yangtze Kiang)the name of which was meaning ‘fish 

flower’, perhaps on account of the ‘infinite quantity’ of fish there 
is in it. On the fourth day of their journey they reached Pocasser, 
a good town twice as large as Canton, where there was a great 
pagoda. They left the next day and arrived at another large town 
called Xilingau. Following up the river, next day they saw large 
fields with plenty of cattle and other stock, for the space of ten 
to twelve leagues, and they reached the small town of Junquileu, 



Here they found the mausoleum of the ambassador Trannocem 
Mudeliar, uncle of the king of Malacca, who had come to China 
forty years ago to ask for help against the Portuguese The river 
was then narrower than at Nanking. The banks up the river are 
full of ‘cities, towns, villages, hamlets, fortresses and castles’. 
Eleven days later they reached the town of Sampitay, where they 
stayed for five days. After passing many other towns and other 
places, and towns entirely formed by boats, they arrived in 
Peking on 9 Oct. 1543. 

Now let us examine this part of Pinto’s itinerary. He says that 
on the fourth day of his journey, and after stopping three days at 
Ninhacutem, he reached Pocasser, which seems to correspond to 
Chinkiang^. Ninhacutem must have lain not far from Chinkiang, 
for only one day was actually spent on the voyage from Nanking, 
which, thanks to the ‘impetuous current’, was long enough to 
cover the 43 miles of river separating the two cities. From there 

' This town is referred to in Comentdrios (iii, xxx) as jfanquileu, and the 
Malay ambassador is called Tuao Nacem Mudaliar. The mausoleum had an 
inscription which the Comentdrios and Pinto give practically in the same 
words; but they give quite different descriptions of the monument itself, so 
that Pinto could hardly have taken the story from the Comentdrios (the first 
edition of which dates from 1557, while the Peregrinafao was begun some 
twelve years later). It seems to me more likely that some of Pinto’s com- 
panions, or even Pinto indirectly, had supplied the information used by the 
author of the Comentdrios. It is obvious that Pinto wrote something like Tuan 
nacem, which the editor of the Peregrinafao misread as Trannocem, as he 
certainly did with many other exotic names. It is not easy to make this name 
— Tuam Nacem Mudeliar, or Tuan Hasan Mudeliar — fit into that com- 
plicated period of confused early Malayan history. Pires refers to a Tuam 
Afem or Tuan Hasan; but it seems that he was a first cousin, not an uncle, of 
king Mahmud of Malacca, who ordered him to be killed with others of his 
family in 1510. See pp. 252-4. Malacca was taken by the Portuguese in 1511, 
so the voyage of the ambassador to China had been made about thirty, not 
forty, years before. 

* In chap. Ixxii Pinto refers to the ‘custom house of Pocasser’, and in 
chap, ccxxii he mentions the liberation of ‘five Portuguese who had been 
prisoners in the city of Pocasser for more than twenty years’. In both cases 
Pocasser may correspond to Chinkiang. It could hardly be a misprint. How- 
ever, I cannot find any explanation for the name. Prof. Moule tells me: ‘In 
the sixteenth century Chinkiang was not called anything like Pocasser. The 
only loop-hole is that some towns occasionally had popular names which 
have not been recorded in the official histories.’ This may be the case here. 
As, according to what Pinto says, the Chifu was a native of Ninhacutem, a 
village near Pocasser, it is only natural that he may have learned that name, 
like other names along his course, from his native guardian. 



he went to Xilingau, which may correspond to Yangchow', the 
most important town at the beginning of the Grand Canal north 
of the Yangtze, 45 li (15 miles) from Chinkiang. Pinto says that 
one day after passing another place 5 leagues beyond Xilingau 
he saw large fields for the space of 10 to 12 leagues (32 to 38 
miles) before Junquileu. The place 5 leagues beyond Xilingau 
must be Shaopo, the next important town, which lies 50 li, 16 
miles or 5*6 leagues, from Yangchow; Junquileu may correspond 
to a small town, which Gandar calls Wei-kiue-leou — Wei-ch’iieh- 
lou in English — between Fanshui and Paoying, about 160 li, 
56 miles or 17-5 leagues, from Shaopo todays. Eleven days after 
Junquileu Pinto reached Sampitay, the town where Pires had 
probably died a few years before. This town must be Hsin P’ei 
chou, P’i chou or P’ei chou (lat. 34° 25', long. 118° 6'), which 
today lies six miles north-east of the nearest point on the Grand 
Canal, in the neighbourhood of a small lake or morass, in a 
maze of canals. P’ei chou is Marco Polo’s Pingiu or Piju, which 
he calls ‘a great, rich, and noble city, with large trade and 
manufactures, and a great production of silk. This city stands at 
the entrance of the great province of Manzi, and there reside at 
it a great number of merchants who despatch carts from this 
place loaded with great quantities of goods to the different 
towns of Manzi’ 3 . It is also mentioned in an Itinerary of 1276, 
translated and edited by A. C. Moule. Yen Kuang-ta, the author 
of the Itinerary, says that, travelling by boat, he ‘stopped for the 
night outside the walls of P’i chou . . . All the officials went 
into the city of P’i to see the sights. The city wall and the walls 
of the houses were broken down, and the people were living in 

* J. B. du Halde, in his description of the Grand Canal, going from north 
to south, says: ‘ ... la ville de Yang tcheou, I’un des plus celebres ports de 
I’Empire. Peu apres il (the Canal) entre dans le grand fleuve Yang tse Kiang, 
a une journee de Nanking.’ Description de VEmpire de Chine, iii, 156. 

^ For these distances I follow Gandar’s important work Le Grand Canal, 
pp. 66-75, which gives the complete itinerary of the Canal from Hangtcheou 
(Hangchow) to Peking. F. J. Mayers, however, gives an itinerary or table of 
distances for this part of the Canal, between Chinkiang and Chungking, the 
total of which amounts to 511 li. Record of a Trip in North-East Kiangsu, 
October 1920, p. 29, Shanghai 1921. Gandar’s distances for the same amount 
to 485 li, with individual differences as large as 20 li (7 miles). One li is equal 
to 576 metres; one mile is equal to 2-8 li. 

3 II, bciii. Yule, Marco Polo, ii, 141. See A. C. Moule, Hangchou to Shang-tu. 



the ruins. From this point all the towns we passed were in this 
condition. We spent the night on the open bank’^ It seems that 
either this happened after Polo’s description or, more probably, 
that the city had recovered before he left China in 1292. 

P’i chou, P’ei chou or Peichow are the names usually found in 
modern books and maps. But, for instance, on a 1928 map 
‘Compiled by Messrs. The Asiatic Petroleum Co. (N.C.), Ltd., 
Shanghai’ it appears as Sinpichow, and in the China Pdstal Atlas 
published in 1919 at Peking, the Chinese characters indicating 
this town mean the same. In this edition of the Postal Atlas 
the correct reading of the three characters is Hsin P’ei chou; 
beside these there are two other characters in brackets which 
read P’ei hsien. Hsien means district. In a more recent edition 
of the Postal Atlas (Nanking 1933) the place, besides the two 
Chinese characters, has only the corresponding word Pihsien, in 
accord with the modern official Chinese nomenclature, chou 
having been changed to hsien by the Republic. Hsin, which 
means ‘new’, is often spelt sin, or in the case of places in the 
south sun. For example, a Cantonese would read as sun the same 
character that in the north is read as hsin or sin. Under the 
heading Hsia P’ei, i.e.. Lower P’ei, a modern Chinese Geo- 
graphical Dictionary^ says that the old wall of Hsia P’ei (or old 
P’ei chou) still exists east of the present P’ei — three li east of 
P’ei chou, according to Playfair^. From the above-mentioned 
Itinerary of 1276 we see that the city of P’ei was then in ruins, 
perhaps as a consequence of the Mongol conquest or of the 
terrible floods that in the thirteenth century forced the Yellow 

* Loc. cit., p. 397. 

^ Chung kuo ku chin ti ming ta tz'u tien [General Dictionary of the ancient 
and modern Place-names of China], Shanghai, Commercial Press, 1931. 
According to this Dictionary, in the Later Han (a.d. 25-220) the Seat of the 
Government of the Hsia P’ei Kingdom was at the ‘Old Wall of Hsia P’ei’. 
‘The Old Wall is east of P’ei Hsien in the modern Chiang-su’ (Kiangsu). 
Though the chronology in such cases is not always very clear and sometimes 
even contradictory, we gather from the four articles referring to P’ei in the 
Dictionary (pp. 48 and 537) that the name and status of the city changed 
several times through the centuries; it seems also that it changed place more 
than once. None of the four articles refers to either the ‘old’ or the ‘present’ 
cities as Hsin, ‘New’, but at least the two modern maps mentioned above are 
quite explicit. 

3 The Cities and Towns of China, 2549. 



River to change its course and thus flow through the region where 
P’ei was situated, or as a consequence of both. It is evident that 
in Fires’ and Pinto’s time a new town had long been built on the 
bank of the Canal, westward of the ruined one, and perhaps it 
was called Hsin (or Sun) P’ei, i.e.. New P’ei. T'ai means 
‘terrace’ and fi (or Vai in Cantonese) means ‘embankment’ or 
‘a dyke’, ‘a bank’'. I venture to suggest that in Pinto’s time the 
place was called Hsin (or Sun) P’ei t’ai, i.e., Sampitay^ or that at 
least that was the usual name among the boatmen and therefore 
that was what they called it in speaking to Pinto. This part of 
Kiangsu province, crossed by the old course of the Yellow River, 
has been through the centuries the scene of such terrible floods, 
with consequent changes in the hydrography of the region and 
probably in the course of the CanaR, that it is quite possible that 
after Pinto’s time the Canal moved westward. This point of the 
Canal is 480 li, or 170 miles, from Wei-ch’iieh-lou or Junquileu, 
which means an average of 15-5 miles a day for the eleven days 
Pinto took to cover the distance, with several locks or sluices to 
pass through 3 and the water running strongly north-south. 

It is not surprising that Pinto in writing Sampitay gives a 
better version of this place-name than in many other cases. Not 
only did he stay there longer than in any other place during his 
journey, but the meeting with Ines de Leiria and the story she 
told about Tome Pires must have impressed him more than any- 
thing else and so was firmly fixed in his memory. It is easy to 
find many inaccuracies in Pinto’s account, but in several points 
his good faith cannot be doubted. We must, however, allow for 
some inexactitudes, owing to the fact that he was writing from 
memory many years later, which made him mix up many of the 
very exotic oriental names, to the fact that we do not possess 
the MS of his book and that, no doubt, the editor of the Fere- 
grinafdo (first published thirty-one years after Pinto’s death) 
could not understand most of the names of places and persons 

' H. A. Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary, 10,577, 10,914, 10,917. 

* See Gandar, op. cit., pp. 29 seqq. On a map published in Yule’s Marco 
Polo (ii, 144) Peichau is placed on the east bank of the Canal and only a few 
miles north of the old course of the Yellow River ‘from circa a.d. 1200 to 1853’. 

* Gandar, op. cit., p. 26. W. J. Garnett, Report of a Journey through the 
Provinces of Shantung and Kiangsu, p. 19, London 1907. 


written by Pinto and probably corrupted many of them, as in 
the case of Tuam Nacem mentioned above. In the case of Tome 
Pires, as in many others, the thorough study of the problem has 
shown how inconsistent and unfair can be the accusations 
showered on Fernao Mendes Pinto by his detractors ^ There are 
still many points in the Peregrinagdo waiting to be explained, 
perhaps waiting in vain, as has happened in many early accounts. 
Even in Marco Polo’s Book^ in spite of the exhaustive studies to 
which it has been subjected, there are points that cannot be 
understood. In almost every chronicle or early account of travels, 
place-names that cannot be identified, erroneous and contra- 
dictory statements or dates are found, as can be seen over and 
over again in the course of the notes which accompany the 
present edition of Pires’ Suma. However, nobody dreams of 
saying that Correia, Galvao, Castanheda, Barros, Couto or some 
other early writer lied, or wrote unblushing falsehoods or men- 
dacities when what they say does not correspond to the proved 
and established truth. 

Pinto’s adventures and travels undoubtedly form one of the 
most wonderful chapters in the history of voyages, and the 
beautifully written book which he bequeathed to posterity is 
indeed a jewel in this fascinating kind of literature. The great 
traveller and writer certainly deserves a fairer treatment, and his 
memory ought to be referred to with more respect. It is indeed 
time to pay Femao Mendes Pinto the reparation to which he is 

* George Phillips writes: ‘I have in my possession a copy of Marsden’s 
edition of Marco Polo, owned by Dr. Morrison in 1 826, which offers a curious 
illustration of this, for I find at the end of the book written in pencil the 
following estimate of the character of the great traveller: “With all deference 
to the learned Venetian, I come to the conclusion that he is an arrant liar.” ’ 
The Seaports of India and Ceylon, p. 215. Fernao Mendes Pinto has yet to find 
his Sir Henry Yule. 

* One of the many extraordinary adventures of Pinto, during the twenty- 
one years he spent in the East, was his entry in 1 554 as a novice in the Society 
of Jesus and his abandonment of it in 1556 — a serious and unpardonable 
offence, it seems. Cristdvao Aires, one of his biographers, writes: ‘The anim- 
adversion of the Jesuits against Pinto, to the point of ordering his name to be 
stricken out in all their records, contributed much to the systematic discredit 
of the Peregrinafdo.’ Fernao Mendes Pinto e 0 Japao, p. 3. Pinto wrote two 
letters to the Society, while in its service, one from Malacca in 1554, 



Summing Up. Too many queries, alas, are strewn through 
this attempt to reconstruct Tome Pires’ life. But, maintaining all 
reserves where evidence is merely circumstantial, the biography 
of the first European ambassador to China may be sketched as 
follows; Tome Pires was born about 1468, perhaps in Lisbon, 

another from Macao in 1555; the Jesuits published the first of these letters 
but not the second, and later the author’s name was erased or altered in both 
of them. See the very interesting and valuable work of Jordao de Freitas, 
Fernao Mendes Pinto, pp. 57-60. Several Jesuit historians utilized the manu- 
script of the Peregrinafao before its publication; the first of them was G. 
Pietro Maffei in his Historia Indica (1589), but the mention of Pinto’s name 
was carefully avoided. In his Historia da Igreja no Japdo the Jesuit Joao 
Rodrigues, called Tguzzu (1561-1634), refers to Pinto only in order to label 
the Peregrinafao as a ‘book of counterfeits’. A. Cortesao, Cartografia, i, 165-6; 
A Expansdo Portuguesa atraves do Pactfico, pp. 170-2. The Peregrinafdo was 
published for the first time in Lisbon, 1614, after being corrected by the 
chronicler Francisco de Andrada. Francisco de Herrera Maldonado, whose 
translation of the Peregrinafdo into Spanish was published in Madrid, 1627, 
says in his introduction: ‘Francisco de Andrada, Chief Chronicler of that 
Kingdom of Portugal, received this original script of Fernao Mendes Pinto, 
that he might order, correct and arrange it before being printed . . . but he 
left this book so imperfect that instead of correcting he damaged it further, so 
that the wrong arrangement he gave it was the reason for its truth breeding 
doubts and opinions among narrowminded men . . .’ fol. Iv. This may explain 
why the Peregrinafdo, after being corrected, does not make the slightest refer- 
ence to such an important event in Pinto’s life as the three years he passed 
in the Society of Jesus, a period during which the Governor-General of India 
sent him as official ambassador to Japan (1554-6). It has been said that Pinto 
was expelled from the Society of Jesus ‘because he was a marrano, i.e., of 
Jewish blood’, and this quite groundless stretch of the imagination has even 
found its way into the Encyclopaedia Britannica (s.v. Pinto, Fernao Mendes). 
Elsewhere I have already shown that Pinto was not expelled, and proved 
that he was not of Jewish extraction. Ferndo Mendes Pinto ndo era de origem 
judaica, in Seara Nova, No. 842, 2 Oct. 1943, Lisbon. If many Jesuits in the 
past, and some in the present, have attacked Pinto, exceptions can be 
mentioned. In 1710 Padre Francisco de Sousa, S.J., wrote in his Oriente 
Conquistado: ‘. . . Pinto well known for the book of his peregrinations, as true 
in the judgement of the learned as doubtful in the opinion of the vulgar’ 
(p. 106); in 1925 the Rev. L. Besse, S.J., and the Rev. H. Hosten, S.J., wrote: 
‘The chief witness is Fernao Mendes Pinto, whose veracity on the events of 
Burma between 1545 and 1552 can hardly be doubted.’ Father Manoel da 
Fonseca, S.jf., in Ava {Burma) {1613-1652), p. 45. In Journal of the Asiatic 
Society of Bengal, vol. xxi, 1925. Though many early as well as modern 
authors have verified and proclaimed the honesty of the author of the Pere- 
grinafdo, the anathema has been pronounced, and the slander has never dis- 
appeared. In the last edition of Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and 
Phrases, ‘Fernao Mendes Pinto’ is still given as synonymous of ‘deceiver, liar, 
story-teller, ass in lion’s skin', etc. 



where he may have lived in the Porta da Madalena, near the 
north-east corner of the present Pra9a do Comercio. His father 
was the apothecary of King John II, and Tome Pires himself 
was the apothecary of Prince Afonso. On 20 Apr. 15 ii, perhaps 
then a widower, Pires embarked in Lisbon for India, where he 
arrived on 7 Sept, or a few days later. In Lisbon he had been 
appointed ‘factor of the drugs’ in India, but after eight or nine 
months in Cannanore and Cochin, Afonso de Albuquerque 
despatched him to Malacca to make an inquiry about some 
irregularities, and also as controller of the drugs, scrivener, and 
accountant of the factory. Pires sailed from Cochin in April or 
May and arrived in Malacca in June or July 1512. From March 
to July 1513 he went to Java as factor of a fleet. He left Malacca 
about the end of January 1515 and arrived in Cochin at the end 
of February. The greatest part of the Suma Oriental was 
written in Malacca but finished in India. Pires intended to 
return to Portugal, but the new Governor- General, Lopo Soares 
de Albergaria, his old personal friend, chose him, on the advice 
of other Portuguese captains and noblemen in India, to go as 
ambassador to China. He sailed from Cochin about the end of 
February 1516, called at Pase and went to Malacca whence he 
sailed to China on 12 August. Adverse weather caused the fleet 
which accompanied Pires to return to Malacca; he sailed again 
from Malacca in June 1517 and arrived at Tamao on 15 August, 
and at Canton near the end of September, disembarking about a 
month later. After more exasperating delays Pires and his suite 
left Canton on 23 Jan. 1520, arrived at Nanking in May, and 
before February 1521 he was in Peking, having travelled by the 
Grand Canal. After a very bad reception by the court officials he 
left Peking on 22 May, without seeing the Emperor, and arrived 
back in Canton on 22 Sept. 1521. Pires and his companions were 
immediately imprisoned, and on 14 Aug. 1522 he was put in 
fetters. By the end of 1523 or beginning of 1524 he was banished 
from Canton and went to Sampitay, a town on the banks of the 
Grand Canal, where two years before, when travelling between 
Nanking and Peking, he had met a Chinese woman of some 
wealth by whom he had a daughter called Ines de Leiria. Pires 
must have died in Sampitay not very long before 1540, when he 



was about seventy years old. corresponds to the present 

small town of Hsin-P’ei-chou, Sinpichou or Pihsien, near the 
northern limit of Kiangsu province. 

Tome Pires can hardly have imagined what the future had in 
store for him when he agreed to lead the ill-fated embassy to 
China. When he was on the point of returning to Portugal, 
happy and rich, what seemed to be a golden opportunity came to 
him of rising in social status and enormously increasing his 
wealth in knowledge and money. But he lost all he had, and 
after terrible sufferings, anxieties, humiliations and miseries, he 
died unknown, forgotten and hopeless in some town of far- 
distant China. After reading the Suma Oriental and knowing 
how it was written, in the spare time of a very busy life, we can 
be sure that, from the time he left Cochin in 1516 until his 
death some twenty odd years later in China, Pires continued to 
write. We know, through Correia, as mentioned above, that 
before 1524 Pires sent the Governor of India ‘a book in which he 
gave an account of the riches and greatness of China’. But no 
trace of this precious book exists today, no more than of the 
book dealing with ‘weights and measures in all the different 
places’ of the East which Pires himself announces in the Suma. 
The Suma Oriental and the letter of 27 Jan. 1516 ‘about the 
drugs and where they grow’ may give us some sort of idea of 
what Pires must have written about that China which he knew 
so thoroughly and intimately. A small reference in Cristovao 
Vieira’s letter gives some idea of the pains taken by Pires in his 
study of China — ‘Tome Pires said that Nanking lies in 28 or 29 
degrees, Peking in 38 or 39 degrees^’ The correct latitude of 
Peking is 39° 54' and the latitude of Nanking is 32° 5'. Nanking 
is obviously Vieira’s mistake; perhaps he meant Nan-chang 
(lat. 28° 30' N), through which Pires probably passed on his 
journey between Canton and Nanking. 

It was a great loss to the history of science and of geography 
that Pires’ writings on China disappeared, both those which he 
sent before 1524 as well as those he never managed to smuggle 
out of China. 

* Voretzsch, op. cit., p. 62. Pires’ name, which appears in the Lisbon frag- 
ments of Vieira’s original letter, has been omitted in the Paris copy (fol. i i2v.) 



THE ‘SUMA oriental’ OF TOM^ FIRES 

The Lisbon Manuscript. Besides the Paris MS there is an- 
other in the Biblioteca Nacional of Lisbon, without name of 
author and containing a portion only of the Suma Oriental. This 
forms part of a codex, MS 299, which begins with a Chronica 
geral dos reinos de Guzerate, fols. 1-41V., and is completed with 
the Soma horientall que trata do mar Roxo ate os chims, fols. 
41V.-98V. Fols. 42-47 are missing. According to the index in the 
codex, it formerly contained also a Chronica troiana^ which is 
now in MS 298. 

The whole codex is in the same clear hand of about the 
middle of the first half of the sixteenth century. The beginning is 
identical with fol. ii 8 v. of the Paris MS, but the text from 
‘nacimento do njllo’ until about the third quarter of fol. 121 r. 
is lacking, as it occurred on the six missing folios; then follows 
the description of Arabia, Ormuz, Persia, Noutaques, Risbutos^ 
Cambay, Kanara, Narsinga, Malabar, Bengal, Arakan, Pegu, 
Siam, Cambodia, Champa, Cochin-China, and China^ All the 
rest — Ceylon, Choromandel, Indian Archipelago, Lequios, 
Japan and the history of Malacca are not dealt with at all. Not 
only the headings and order of the chapters or items are different 
in the two MSS, but also the text differs in many points and is 
much more reduced in the Lisbon MS, mainly in the descrip- 
tions of Siam and China. A few variations between the two texts 
have been pointed out in the notes to the English version, when 
necessary, but many more exist. 

The Lisbon MS must be a copy of some now lost original, 
which was not that from which the Paris MS was copied. 
Though the reductions in the text as far as Bengal might be 
explained as a mere desire to simplify on the part of the copyist 
or whoever ordered the copy to be made, the same simple ex- 
planation could not be applied to the very reduced text after the 
description of Bengal. On the other hand, the Lisbon MS, at 

* The folios in the Lisbon and Paris MSS correspond as follows: 41V. = 
ii8v; 48r. to 59v. = i2ir. to I2sr.; 59V. to 63v. = i3or. to 131V.; 64 = i3or.; 
6sr. to 7or. =i32r. to i34r.; 7or. to 84V. =I25V. to 129V.; 84V. to 98r. =i34r. 
to 1 39V.; 98r. to 98V. =i6ir. to 162V. 


The first lines referring to China in Tome Pires’ Suma Oriental. Above — Lisbon MS; 

below — Paris MS (pp. Ixiv-lxx) 



least in the passage referring to Malik ’Aiyaz, adds some 
information to that given in the Paris MS^; the date 1522 shows 
that it was added much after the actual writing of the original 
and not by Pires himself. Not only are there words and passages 
which are wrong in the Paris MS and correct in the Lisbon MS, 
but vice versa, words like agenh and gamarcante in the former 
appear wrongly written in the latter. It is possible that the 
Lisbon MS is the copy of some preliminary report sent by Pires 
not long after his arrival in Malacca. He must have received 
instructions, before he left Lisbon, to send reports similar to the 
Suma Oriental, mainly of an economic character though with a 
historic background. Pires may be referring to this preliminary 
report, or some other written shortly after it, when in the letter 
from Malacca 7 Nov. 1512 he says to his brother: ‘To the King 
our Lord I write extensively about the things of Malacca’, and 
then adds that this is sent together with other letters to ‘Senhor 
Jorge de Vasconcelos’, the director of the Casa da Mina e India, 
an early Ministry for the Colonies. Through his stay in Malacca 
Pires was able to gather much more information about the Far 
East, the Indian Archipelago, and Malacca itself with the 
neighbouring countries, which he may later on have included in 
the Suma Oriental. On the other hand there is no doubt that the 
Suma Oriental was officially kept secret, and it is quite possible 
that only the part of it referring to matters already in the public 
domain was allowed by the Portuguese authorities to be tran- 
scribed and to leave the carefully closed State Archives; the 
Lisbon MS may be a copy of that transcription. 

Ramusio’s Translation. In his Primo Volume delle Naviga- 
tioni et Viaggi, printed in Venice 1550 for the first time, Ramusio 
publishes, after the Libro di Odoardo Barbosa, the Sommario di 
tutti li regni, citta, & populi orientali, con li traffichi & mercantie, 
che iui si trovano, cominciando dal mar Rosso jino alii populi della 
China. Tradotto dalla lingua Portoghese nella Italiana. The trans- 
lation was made from an original similar to the Lisbon MS^, and 

* See note p. 35. 

* As the Encyclopaedia Britannica says, the original of this Summary of all 
the Kingdoms, Cities, and Nations from the Red Sea to China has never been 
printed or noted elsewhere. Article: Ramusio, Gian Battista. 

H.C.S. I. 


it has the part corresponding to the six folios missing in the 
latter. The translation of this part shows many differences from 
the Paris MS; for instance the whole section from the reference 
to the lack of rain in Egypt to the description of Mecca, in 
fol. 119V. of the Paris MS, is missing in Ramusio. But there are 
also differences between the Lisbon MS and Ramusio’s trans- 
lation; besides many minor ones, there is a large omission in the 
description of the Persian Gulf. After five lines under the head- 
ing Del golfo Persico, Ramusio follows with the Nodhakis 
(Naitaques), whom he calls Motages, leaving out all that is con- 
tained in fols. 54r.-57r. of the Lisbon MS about the rivers 
Euphrates and Tigris, and about the Sophy. When referring to 
Malik ’Aiyaz, Ramusio’s translation has the same reference to 
the year 1522 as in the Lisbon MS. This shows that the copy he 
used was not made from Pires’ original but from a copy similar 
to the Lisbon MS. 

Ramusio did not know who was the author of the account he 
translated. In the ‘Discorso di M. Gio. Battista Ramusio sopra 
il Libro di Odoardo Barbosa, & sopra il Sommario delle Indie 
Orientale’ which precedes the translation of both, he says: ‘In the 
same way the summary, according to what I have been able to 
gather, that too was composed by a Portuguese gentleman, who 
sailed over all the East, and having read Barbosa’s Book, 
wished to describe almost the same things in his own way 
and according to the information which he had received, and 
specially about that part where are the Moluccas, which have 
to the north a long coast of mainland, which some Portuguese 
pilots think, from information received about it in Malacca, 
runs towards the east; and according to what I have been told, 
he tried to describe it more in detail than was possible for him, 
that being one of the most singular and notable parts which is 
described on the globe, and completely inhabited and full of 
cities and white people, endowed with good intellect and 
courteous, and there being there, besides that one, many islands 
well populated and abounding in all things necessary for human 
sustenance. Nevertheless when he returned home, if he wanted 
his book to be seen, he was forced to take away all that part 
which towards the end deals with the Moluccas and the spices. 



And I at that time having ordered with great trouble and diffi- 
culty the book to be transcribed in Lisbon itself, I was only able 
to get one copy, and that imperfect; and I did the same for 
Barbosa’s Book in Seville. So much can the interests of the 
Prince effect. I could well have wished that as I did not fail to 
take every care to obtain these books, a happier fortune would 
have brought them into my hands more complete and more 
correct, and I would much more gladly and quickly have printed 
and published them; not for any other end or purpose than to 
please students who take pleasure in such reading. . . .’^ 

Though he wrongly assumed that the author of the Sommario 
had read Barbosa’s Book, which actually was written a couple of 
years later, Ramusio’s report is very interesting. We see that he 
had got information about the Suma Oriental, complete as we 
know it through the Paris MS, but he was unable to obtain a full 
copy in spite of all his strenuous efforts. Whoever supplied him 
with his incomplete copy had to tell him that the author had 
been forced to leave out all the matter concerning the Moluccas 
and the spices — a specious story to cover his inability to do 
better. What was most important and interesting for Ramusio 
had been left out, i.e., just the information about the precious 
spices, the Moluccas and the other islands of the Indian Archi- 
pelago, of which nothing more was known than vague references 
in early writers, the fanciful description of Varthema, who never 
went beyond India, the very incomplete and second-hand 
account of Barbosa, and the exciting but brief description of 
Pigafetta, dealing almost entirely with the relatively small part 
he saw. It is easy to understand Ramusio’s obvious disappoint- 
ment. In accordance with the policy of secrecy in the matter of 
discoveries, followed by the Portuguese Crown since the first 
half of the fifteenth century, the important information about 
the Spice Islands and the East Indies could not be given forth. 
Though Spain had officially desisted from her pretensions to the 
Moluccas by the Treaty of Saragossa (22 April 1529), the 

* This translation follows the 1613 edition (i, 287V.). The words ‘almost’ 
(quasi) and ‘and the spices’ (& delle spetierie), and the sentence ‘So much can 
the interests of the Prince effect’ (Tanto possono gVinteressi del principe), are 
not in the 1550 edition (l, 31OV.). 



Spaniards never gave up, and their spies never ceased trying to 
obtain all the information they could until 1580, when that 
unfortunate period of Portuguese history began, during which 
Portugal was under Spanish domination for sixty years^ Thus 
the part of Pires’ Sutna that was allowed to leak out, or that some 
foreign agent was able to obtain — that in the Lisbon MS and in 
Ramusio’s translation — contained nothing more than unimpor- 
tant open secrets. The Sommario which reached Ramusio had 
been shorn of everything that might be deemed State secrets. 
‘Tanto possono gl’interessi del principe’, as the famous Venetian 
sadly says. 

The Paris Manuscript. We have seen already that the sixty- 
two folios containing the Suma Oriental form the second part of 
the codex in which the Book of Francisco Rodrigues occupies 
the first part. The handwriting is so similar to that of Pires’ 
letters, extant in Lisbon, that one is led at first to believe that 
the present copy of the Suma is in the author’s own hand^. How- 
ever, a careful examination shows definitely that it is not in 
Pires’ hand. Apart from paleographic reasons, there are many 
indications in the manuscript indicating that it is a mere copy, 
and that it could not have been written by Pires himself. In the 
description of Persia the transcriber of the Paris MS (fol. I22v.) 
wrote Ydamca instead of India, which appears correctly in the 
Lisbon MS, and consequently in Ramusio’s translation (see 
note p. 21). When referring to the merchants of Persia the Paris 
MS (fol. I24r.) has cauo for Cairo, which is correct in the Lisbon 
MS and in Ramusio (note p. 29). At the beginning of the 
description of the ‘Kingdom of Cambay’ there is a word missing 
in the Paris MS (fol. I25r.), but in the Lisbon MS and in 
Ramusio the sentence is complete (note p. 33). A little further 

^ See my essay O Descobrimento da Australdsia e a ‘Questao das Molucas,' 
pp. 148 seqq. I have even reason to believe that the Portuguese had discovered 
Australia in 1522, and that the secret was jealously kept, as I have shown in 
another essay — A Expansao Portuguesa atraves do Pacifico, pp. 155-9. 

^ The late Commander Fontoura da Costa, to whom I had sent photostats 
of the Suma Oriental so that he might collate the handwriting with that of 
Pires’ letters in the T6rre do Tom bo, wrote me saying that he had consulted 
several experts, and the first impression was that the handwriting of the Suma 
‘seems really that of T. Pires’. But later investigations have left no doubt in 
my mind that it is not from Pires’ hand. 



on, the Paris MS has, wrongly, Dalmds, which is correctly given 
as gemte darmas in the Lisbon MS and so in Ramusio (note 
p. 34). In the description of the ‘Kingdom of Narsinga’ the 
Paris MS (fol. i26r.) has que, which the Lisbon MS correctly 
gives as porque, and so too does Ramusio; the same with arte in 
the one, and corte in the others (notes p. 64). When referring to 
the ‘Nayars of Malabar’, the Paris MS (fol. layv.) wrongly has 
pequeno Douro, while the Lisbon MS has correctly pedafo douro 
(note p. 71). When describing the ‘Kingdom of Kranganur’ the 
copyist of the Paris MS (fol. laSv.) left out the words cd a vimda 
dos portugueses he, which are in the Lisbon MS (note p. 79). At 
the beginning of the ‘Kingdom of Comorin’ the Paris MS (fol. 
lapr.) left out the words O Reino de Comorim cojina, which are 
in the Lisbon MS and likewise in Ramusio; under the same 
heading it seems that the copyist of the Paris MS missed a whole 
line — assy como nos chamamos a duques marquezes comdes & 
outros (notes p. 82). In the description of the ‘Kingdom of 
Cochin-China’ the Paris MS (fol. 138V.) has qoaf Juncos, which 
is a mistake for qoarenf, as it appears in the Lisbon MS and 
similarly in Ramusio (note p. 114). These and other divergences 
of the same kind, some of them mentioned in the notes, point to 
the same conclusion, i.e., that the Paris MS is a copy and could 
not possibly come from Pires’ hand. 

It is possible that the copy mentioned by Barbosa Machado 
was the original. Unfortunately he does not say where it was, 
but he might have seen it in the precious royal library of the 
Pa?o da Ribeira, or in the still more precious archives of the Casa 
da India, which was on the ground floor of the same building, 
both destroyed by the fire that broke out when Lisbon was 
devastated by the great earthquake of 1755. Barbosa Machado 
published vol. ill of his Bibliotheca Lusitana, where he refers to 
Pires, in 1752. We do not know where the present copy of the 
Suma Oriental was made, or how it came to be bound together 
with the Book of Francisco Rodrigues. However, when Ro- 
drigues returned from the first voyage to the Moluccas, in 1512, 
Pires was already in Malacca. They might have had tastes in 
common, and perhaps became friends. They might have met in 
India before Pires left for China, and it is quite possible that 


Rodrigues obtained a copy of the Suma Oriental', perhaps he had 
a copy especially made for him. But even if they did not meet in 
India, they certainly met in Canton. Rodrigues was one of the 
captains of the fleet of Simao de Andrade which arrived at 
Tamao in August 1519, and Fires did not leave for Peking till 
January 1520. It is likely that Fires sent the original of the Suma 
Oriental to Lisbon before he left Cochin for China, but he 
certainly kept a second copy or the original draft with him. 
When the two men met again. Fires probably showed Rodrigues 
the Suma Oriental, which he might have seen before in India or 
in Malacca, while it was still being written, or Fires may even 
have handed it to Rodrigues, in view of the difficulties and un- 
certainties he was anticipating. And if Rodrigues had not a 
copy already, either one was made while Fires was still in Canton 
or not much later. The fact that Rodrigues’ Book is from his own 
hand and the present copy of the Suma Oriental is written on 
the same kind of paper, strongly suggests that it was made 
under Rodrigues’ order and was first in his possession. 

Fires introduces confusion into the division of his work. After 
saying in the ‘Third Prologue’ that the Suma will be divided up 
on the lines of the five principal rivers — Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, 
Indus, and Ganges — he goes on to assert that the five books in 
which it will be divided will treat: the first from Arabia to 
Cambay, the second to Bhatkal, the third to Bengal, the fourth 
to China, and the fifth will be all the islands. These two divisions 
cannot, of course, be fitted into each other. Then follows, under 
the heading ‘Division of the present Suma\ a new division 
which does not fit either of the previous ones. It is also in five 
books: first — the beginning of Asia, from Africa to the First 
India; second — to the end of Middle India; third — High India 
till Ayuthia; fourth — China, Liu Kiu, Japan, Borneo, Lufoes, and 
Macassars; fifth — all the islands in detail, i.e., the Indian Archi- 
pelago. It seems that Fires followed approximately this order, 
but the copyist of the Paris MS, after beginning the description 
of the ‘Kingdom of Cambay’ (fol. I25r.), follows with ‘Kingdoms 
in the land of Kanara’ (fol. 125V.), which belongs to bk. ii and 
must come after the ‘Kingdom of Goa’; the rest of the descrip- 
tion of Cambay (fols. I30r.-i3iv.) comes after the description of 



the Malabar. This maybe the transcriber’s fault, as he wrote at the 
head of fol. 125V. — ‘Here you will leave this and look for Cambay 
which follows after,’ and also at the head of fol. 13 or. — ‘It is 
before the kingdoms in the land of Kanara.’ It seems less pro- 
bable that the mistake originated with Pires himself; besides, 
in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio’s translation the text follows 
in the proper order. Under the heading ‘Pattars of Cambay’ 
(fol. 13 ir.) we read: ‘You shall find what manner of men they are 
back in the description of Malabar.’ But the Lisbon MS (fol. 
62r.) says: ‘como adiamte direy no malabar’ (as I will say further 
on in the Malabar). This variance in the Paris MS may be due to 
the transcriber’s substituting atras (back) for adiamte (further 
on) in order to adjust the word to the arrangement of his copy. 
The same hand that wrote ‘Osorio’ on fol. 5r., also wrote at the 
bottom of fol. 13 IV.: ‘Here ends the first book; and the second, 
about the Kanarese and Bhatkal, begins further back.’ To com- 
plicate things still further, when the Paris MS was assembled, 
fols. i6ir.-i63v. (pp. 89-94 of a previous numeration, perhaps 
when the codex was in Osorio’s possession), containing the rest 
of bk. IV, which begins on fol. i39r. with the ‘Kingdom of 
China’, were placed after the end of bk. v and the ‘Account of 
the island of Ceylon’, which ends on fol. i6ov. 

It happens also that after he finished bk. v with the ‘Account 
of all the islands’, Pires wrote about Ceylon (fol. 160), which he 
does not mention in any of the divisions of the Suma. At the 
beginning of the ‘Account of Ceylon’ he explains, however: ‘As 
I followed the coast of the mainland, I had no mind to deal with 
the island of Ceylon, and afterwards I almost forgot about it; 
and it did not seem right to fail to speak of it even in a place 
inserted out of the proper order; but the scarcity of paper made 
me do this, and so as not to put in a leaf and break the original 
order.’ This shows that he tried to keep to his original plan, 
and thus the confused disposition of the text in the Paris MS 
could hardly be his fault. In view of this the ‘Account of Ceylon’ 
is placed at the end of bk. ii, in the present version, after the 
‘Kingdom of Comorin’, the southernmost of Malabar and India. 
The last fifteen folios of the Paris MS (i64r.-i78v.) contain the 
lengthy historical, geographical and economic description of 


Malacca, which could hardly be fitted into the scheme drawn up 
by Fires, even in bk. ill, though after Pegu and before Siam he 
inserted a note, far from clear, which might suggest that 
Malacca was dealt with elsewhere. So this is, appropriately 
enough, given as bk. vi in the present version. The order of the 
whole text has been accordingly adjusted in the English version, 
but the Portuguese text is printed exactly in the order of the 
Paris MS; as stated above, the numeration of the folios, which 
is kept in the original and in the version, will help readers to find 
the corresponding portions in the two languages. 

Summing up, the present version of the Suma Oriental is 
geographically divided, in general lines, as follows: 

Preface ; 

Bk. I — From Egypt to Cambay, with the Red Sea, 
Arabia, Ormuz and Persia; 

Bk. II — From Cambay to Ceylon, with the Deccan, Goa, 
Kanara, Narsinga and Malabar; 

Bk. Ill — From Bengal to Indo-China, with Burma and 

Bk. IV — China to Borneo, with Liu Kiu, Japan and 

Bk. V — Indian Archipelago; 

Bk. VI — Malacca. 

Where and When the Suma Oriental was Written. 
Though the greater part of the Suma Oriental was written in 
Malacca, it is probable that it was begun and finished in India. 
During the two years and seven months he lived in Malacca, 
Pires was extremely busy with his official duties, as he himself 
says at the end of the Preface: ‘most of my time was taken up 
with my duties in connexion with Your Highness’ revenue, and 
the time I devoted to the present work was my leisure.’ It is im- 
probable that he was so busy when in India, before embarking 
for Malacca, and during the twelve months between his return to 
India and departure for China. During the seven months after 
his arrival in India he must have collected much information and 
begun to write the Suma\ and that he finished it in India is 



clear from the end of the Preface. There are other passages 
leading to the same conclusion. In the description of Malacca 
Fires refers several times to what will be said in the description 
of China, Sumatra, Java, Bengal, etc., which shows that he 
wrote it before most of what he says about Malacca; but referring 
to the ‘Ports of Siam’ (fol. i37r.) he writes: ‘as we have already 
said in the kingdom and district of Malacca.’ Then, when deal- 
ing with the weights and measures of Malacca (fol. lybr.), he 
says: ‘Now I will tell how it (Malacca) was taken, and what 
happened up to the time of my departure for Cochin.’ This 
shows that later, probably when in Cochin, he added to what he 
had already written in Malacca. Though part of what he wrote 
on China, Bengal and the Indian Archipelago may have been 
written in India, he certainly wrote most of it when still in 
Malacca. For instance, when describing the ‘Land of Surabaya’ 
(fol. i54r.) Pires says: ‘He {Pate Buhat) has already written to 
this fortress (of Malacca), and they have written him twice.’ 

The way Afonso de Albuquerque is mentioned in the Pre- 
face — ^which must have been one of the last things written — 
shows that Pires had finished the Suma before the death of the 
great Governor (i6 Dec. 1515). We can conclude that the 
greater part of the Suma Oriental was written in Malacca, and 
the rest in Cochin, during the years 15 12-15. 

The Value of Tome Pires’ Work. The Suma Oriental was a 
report sent to King Manuel, perhaps in discharge of a com- 
mission taken by Tome Pires before he left Lisbon. His style 
is far from clear, and no doubt it often becomes more confused 
owing to the transcriber’s mistakes, which sometimes produced 
words without any meaning, mainly when dealing with local 
names or expressions. Some passages, as for instance at the end 
of the description of Java, are almost impossible to translate, for 
their meaning can hardly be guessed. Similar mistakes, com- 
mitted by careless or unscrupulous transcribers, appear in other 
contemporary manuscripts which are known only through 
second-hand copies, as in the cases of the Book of Duarte Bar- 
bosa and the Livro de Marmharia. But the translation of 
Barbosa’s famous work is a less complicated task, for besides 
Ramusio’s translation, made from a copy seen by Barbosa him- 



self in Seville, there exists a Portuguese copy of the manuscript 
printed in 1821, and made more understandable through 
punctuation and revision. 

The character of the Suma Oriental, devoted mostly to econo- 
mics, does not afford many opportunities for literary brilliance. 
But, in spite of the general poverty of style, Pires shows a culture 
well above what might have been expected from a man of his 
class, and there are occasional flashes from his pen. This is 
especially noticeable in the Preface, where he tried his best, 
although remarking modestly: T am a Lusitanian and a man of 
the people, whose custom it is to belittle their glories and to 
make too much of the bad things; and the work of composing 
treatises or summaries is more for foreigners than for natives, 
because they know how to adorn their compositions’. But then 
he adds: ‘For instance, we see them tell wonders of the Mediter- 
ranean Sea, which is a fifteen days’ voyage, always within sight 
of land; so what would they do if they saw the famous eastern 
conquest of all the ocean, in the course of which there were 
things as deserving of remembrance and honour among men as 
they were accounted worthy before God.’ There are other 
passages in the Suma where Pires rises above dry description: 
when, for example, he refers to ‘cool Ormuz . . . with all the 
elegance of beautiful white women’ (fol. i22r.); or when he 
remarks of the burning alive of widows in Blambangan that ‘thus 
they lose their bodies in this life and their souls burn in the next’ 
(fol. 1 54V.). Nor is he lacking in a sense of humour, as when he 
ends an interesting reference to the importance of Malacca with 
the hint that there ‘you find what you want, and sometimes 
more than you are looking for’. He never ceases to praise 
Malacca, ‘end of monsoons and beginning of others’; ‘no trading 
port as large as Malacca is known, nor any where they deal in 
such fine and highly prized merchandise. Goods from all over 
the East are found here; goods from all over the West are sold 
here’ (fol. i6or.). Under the heading ‘Reason for the greatness of 
Malacca’, together with his enthusiasm he discloses, perhaps 
better than anywhere else, his vision, spirited criticism and 
common sense, ending with these picturesque and revealing 
sentences: ‘And true it is that this part of the world is rich and 



more prized than the world of the Indies, because the smallest 
merchandise here is gold, which is least prized, and in Malacca 
they consider it as merchandise. Whoever is lord of Malacca has 
his hand on the throat of Venice. . . . Who understands this will 
favour Malacca; let it not be forgotten, for in Malacca they prize 
garlic and onions more than musk, benzoin, and other precious 
things’ (fol. lySr.). Though he says that ‘a captain is sufficient 
to rule and govern, with governors according to the nations of 
the merchants’, he could not help adding, about the many 
nationalities of the merchants living there, that ‘a Solomon was 
needed to govern Malacca, and it deserves one’. 

The prevailing note throughout the whole Suma is that of 
honesty, which, no doubt, greatly enhances its value. Just as 
Duarte Pacheco had said before him, ‘experience, which is the 
mother of knowledge, removes all doubt and misapprehension’ ^ 
so too Fires says in the Preface: ‘We here have been through 
everything, and experienced it and seen it.’ He does not fail to 
emphasize his endeavours to find the truth: ‘The great island of 
Java [i.e. his account of it] is finished; as well as I have been able to 
examine and investigate it, verifying my facts with many people; 
and whatever they seemed to me to agree about thoroughly, 
that have I written down, and they certainly do not depart 
from the truth’ (fol. 154V.). In the description of the ‘Islands 
of Timor where the white sandalwood comes from’, Pires 
asserts once more: ‘and I asked and enquired very diligently 
whether they had this merchandise anywhere else, and every- 
one said not’ (fol. 155V.). When he could not verify by himself, 
he often says that he writes ‘according to the information I 
obtained’. Referring to the Amboina and Banda islands and 
the navigation about them, he is careful enough to state: ‘If 
in what I say of these islands, together with Banda, I disagree 
with the pilots, it is not my fault, because in this I am relying on 
people who have been there; I have learnt this from Moors, from 
their charts, which I have seen many times, and if their charts 
are not to be trusted, let it be clear that this should be for reading 

‘ Esmeralda de Situ Orbis, G. H. T. Kimble’s Hakluyt Society edition, 
p. 12. Pacheco’s famous book was written in 1505-8 and published for the 
first time in Lisbon 1892. 



and not for navigation’ (fol. 156V.). After mentioning the imagi- 
nary ‘breath-snakes’, he adds: ‘I have never met a man who has 
seen one’ (fol, laSr,). About the story of the kings of Cambay 
being ‘brought up on poison’, he remarks: ‘But I do not believe 
this, although they say it is so’ (fol. 130V.). About the women of 
Nias island who ‘are made pregnant by the wind’, he comments: 
‘The people believe in this, as others believe in the Amazons and 
the Sybil of Rome’ (fol. i46r.). Of the Papuan ‘men with big 
ears who cover themselves with them’, he says: ‘I never saw any- 
one who saw anyone else who had seen them. This story should 
be given no more importance than it deserves’ (fol. i59r.)- 
The first two books of the Suma Oriental have only a limited 
interest, though they bring a valuable contribution to the study 
of the countries covered by them; but the other four books 
describe the until then almost unknown world beyond India, by 
one who lived for two and a half years in the centre of the Far 
Eastern countries, and visited some of them. Leaving aside the 
accounts of medieval European travellers, Pires’ Suma contains 
the first trustworthy information on the countries and islands 
lying from Bengal to Japan. The information given about the 
lands visited by himself is, of course, more valuable and vivid 
than that which he obtained second-hand; but even the latter is 
exceptionally interesting for the time, owing to the place where 
he collected it and his official position, which brought him in 
direct touch with the cosmopolitan world of oriental travellers, 
ship’s captains, pilots and merchants who frequented Malacca, 
to say nothing of the reports of many Portuguese. No need to 
emphasize the especial value of the great wealth of first-hand 
historical, geographical, ethnographical and commercial infor- 
mation about each and all of the countries and peoples with 
whom he dealt — it will be easily gathered from the text of the 
Suma and, in many cases, from the accompanying notes. As an 
instance, among many other important items, three may be 
mentioned: we find here, for the first time, the name Japan, 
which appears under the form Jampon\ Pires’ description of 
Sumatra was not surpassed in detail and accuracy for a couple of 
centuries; the information about Java, derived from his visit to 
its north coast, is the most remarkable; the historical account of 


Malacca is not only the earliest known, but contains much 
information not found elsewhere. 

The Portuguese discoveries, from the first quarter of the 
fifteenth century to the first quarter of the sixteenth, and the 
invention of printing about 1450, were the two main factors in 
that cosmopolitan enlightenment of the Renaissance, the foun- 
dation of Western Civilization. The period of the discoveries 
coincides with the golden century of Portuguese history. The 
adventurous spirit of the Portuguese people led them to the 
science of navigation, which enabled their ships to unveil the 
mysteries of the great oceans and search out far distant lands, 
many of them quite unknown to the world, or of which there 
were only vague references in Europe. With the navigators went 
the warriors, the missionaries, the merchants, and the men of 
science and investigators, like Duarte Pacheco, D. Joao de 
Castro, Garcia da Orta, Duarte Barbosa, Tome Pires and many 
others. Their writings are imperishable monuments ^ The now 
happily rediscovered Suma Oriental, the value of which was 
probably surpassed by the later, now unfortunately lost, 
accounts Pires no doubt wrote in China, is enough to win for him 
an important place among those Portuguese who, extending and 
developing their world discoveries, made a great contribution to 
human knowledge and progress^. Above all. Tome Pires was the 

* The Hakluyt Society alone has published some twenty-five volumes with 
early Portuguese books of voyages and other geographical records, and many 
more dealing in part with Portuguese discoveries and voyages. 

^ Marsden wrote more than two and a half centuries after Pires: ‘The 
Portuguese being better warriors than philosophers, and more eager to 
conquer nations than to explore their manners and antiquities, it is not sur- 
prising that they should have been unable to furnish the world with any 
particular and just description of a country [Sumatra] which they must have 
regarded with an evil eye.’ The History of Sumatra, Preface. Marsden did not 
know, of course, of Pires’ Suma, neither did he know the Livro de Duarte 
Barbosa-, he hardly even mentions the description made by Pinto of his visits 
to Sumatra in 1539 {Peregrinagdo, xiii-xxxii). Marsden makes, however, this 
curious and honest remark, hesitating between the bad reputation of Pinto 
and his accuracy and proved reliability: ‘Many transactions of the reign of 
this prince (about the years 1539 and 1541) are mentioned by Ferdinand 
Mendez Pinto; but his writings are too apocryphal to allow of the facts being 
recorded upon his authority. Yet there is the strongest internal evidence of 
his having been more intimately acquainted with the countries of which we 
are now speaking, the character of the inhabitants, and the political trans- 



earliest sixteenth-century European to write a large, conscien- 
tious and reliable description of the East as a result of his 
personal observation. As with so many of his countrymen, and 
many from other countries, he paid a high price for the privilege 
of serving his fatherland and humanity. 


So little is known about Francisco Rodrigues that it is impos- 
sible even to attempt a biographical sketch. Besides the informa- 
tion we can gather from Rodrigues’ Book itself, he is mentioned 
in two letters of Afonso de Albuquerque to King Manuel, 
written from Cochin, i April and 20 August 1512; in the 
Comentdrios^ iii, xxxvii; by Castanheda, iii, Ixxv; by Barros, ii, 
vi, 7, and iii, vi, i; by Gois, iv, xxv. But all these simply mention 
Rodrigues in connexion with some event in which he took part, 
saying nothing about his origin and the rest of his life. 

The first known reference to Rodrigues appears in Albu- 
querque’s letter of i April 1512, in which he writes of a ‘piece of 
map’ he is sending to the King. It was taken from ‘a large map 
of a Javanese pilot, containing the Cape of Good Hope, Portugal 
and the land of Brazil, the Red Sea and the Sea of Persia, the 
Clove Islands, the navigation of the Chinese and the Gom, with 
their rhumbs and direct routes followed by the ships, and the 
hinterland, and how the kingdoms border on each other. It 
seems to me. Sir, that this was the best thing I have ever seen, 
and Your Highness will be very pleased to see it; it had the 
names in Javanese writing, but I had with me a Javanese who 
could read and write. I send this piece to Your Highness, which 
Francisco Rodrigues traced from the other, in which Your 
Highness can truly see where the Chinese and Gores come from, 
and the course your ships must take to the Clove Islands, and 
where the gold mines lie, and the islands of Java and Banda, of 

actions of the period, than any of his contemporaries; and it appears highly 
probable, that what he has related is substantially true: but there is also 
reason to believe that he composed his work from recollection, after his 
return to Europe, and he may not have been scrupulous in supplying from 
a fertile imagination the unavoidable failures of a memory, however richly 
stored.’ 428-9. 



nutmeg and maces, and the land of the king of Siam, and also 
the end of the navigation of the Chinese, the direction it takes, 
and how they do not navigate farther. The main map was lost in 
Frol de la Mar. With the pilot and Pero de Alpoim I discussed the 
meaning of this map, in order that they could explain it to Your 
Highness; you can take this piece of map as a very accurate and 
ascertained thing, because it is the real navigation, whence they 
come and whither they return. The archipelago of the islands 
called Celates, which lie between Java and Malacca, is missing’'. 
In the other letter, of 20 Aug. 1512, Albuquerque informs the 
King that he had sent a fleet to the Moluccas, under the com- 
mand of Antonio de Abreu, one of the pilots of which was 
‘Francisco Rodrigues, a young man who has been here, with 
very good knowledge and able to make maps’. The Comentdrios 
also mentions this voyage, as pilot of Abreu’s fleet, of ‘Francisco 
Rodrigues, a young man who has always been in India as a pilot, 
and he knew very well how to make a map if necessary, and this 
is why he (Albuquerque) sent him there’. 

Part of the maps and all the sketches contained in his Book 
were drawn during, or as a result of, his voyage to Banda. Ro- 
drigues must have drawn many maps, but unfortunately none has 
reached us, apart from those in the Paris codex, as far as is known. 

The Voyage of Discovery to the Spice Islands. After seiz- 
ing Malacca in the middle of August 15 ii, and before sailing 
back to India in December of the same year, Afonso de Albu- 
querque sent ships with ambassadors to Pegu and Siam, and a 
fleet of three vessels to discover the Spice Islands. The fleet was 
commanded by Antonio de Abreu, in the ship Santa Catarina, 
with Luis Botim as pilot; the second in command was Francisco 
Serrao, in the ship Sabaia, with Gon9alo de Oliveira as pilot; 
the third vessel, a caravel, was commanded by Simao Afonso 
Bisagudo, with Francisco Rodrigues as pilot. In this armada 
went 120 Portuguese, 60 slaves ‘to work the pumps’ and two 
native pilots^. Though the chroniclers mention Rodrigues in the 

» I have dealt at length with this map, and about Rodrigues as a carto- 
grapher in my Cartografia, ii, 122—30. 

2 Albuquerque himself, the Comentdrios, and Correia (ii, 265) mention two 
native pilots, but Barros (iii, v, 6), says that ‘besides the Portuguese pilots, 
Abreu took some Malay and Javanese who were used to that navigation’. 


third place among the pilots, and Correia says that Gon9alo de 
Oliveira was the pilot-major of the fleet', Rodrigues styles him- 
self on the cover of his Book, ‘Pilot-major of the armada that dis- 
covered Banda and the Moluccas.’ As the Sahaia, on which 
Gon9alo de Oliveira was pilot, was shipwrecked shortly after 
passing Java, and the junk in which Serrao was returning, 
probably with Oliveira as pilot, was also shipwrecked shortly 
after leaving Banda, it is possible that Oliveira — who after all 
seems to have been either inefficient or unlucky — did not come 
back with Abreu, and that Rodrigues was, in fact, the pilot- 
major in the voyage from Banda to Malacca. 

The small fleet sailed from Malacca perhaps in November 
15112, All the chroniclers refer, with more or less detail, to this 
voyage, but only Galvao and Barros, mainly the former, give 
information which enables us to trace the itinerary of the fleet. 
Barros says that from Malacca Abreu went to Grisee {Agacim), 
Amboina, Banda, and back to Malacca. But Galvao writes: ‘At 
the end of this year 15 ii, Afonso de Albuquerque sent three 
ships to the islands of Banda and the Moluccas {Maluco). And 
there went Antonio de Abreu as their captain-major, and one 
Francisco Serrao; there were 120 persons in the ships — no more 
vessels nor men went to discover New Spain with Christopher 
Columbus, nor with Vasco da Gama to India, because the 
Moluccas are no less wealthy than these, nor ought they to be 
held in less esteem. They went through the strait of Sabam along 
the island of Sumatra and in sight of many others — leaving them 
on the left hand towards the east — ^which are called Selayat 
(Salites), past the islands of Palembang (Palimbao) and Lucipara 
{Lusuparam); from there they sailed by the noble island of 

* When Albuquerque refers to the three Portuguese pilots, he mentions 
Gon^alo de Oliveira first and Rodrigues last, though the latter is the only one 
he distinguishes with the special reference of being 'a young man of very 
good knowledge and able to make maps’. 

2 Albuquerque says that Abreu’s fleet ‘sailed in the month of November, 
two and a half months before I left’ (letter of 20 Aug. 1512). Though Correia 
asserts that Albuquerque left Malacca for India on i Dec. 15 ii (ii, 268), 
Galvao and Castanheda (iii, Ixxv) say that he left in January. The Comen- 
tdrios and Correia confirm that Abreu sailed in November; Castanheda says at 
the end of December; Fernao Peres de Andrade and Jorge Botelho (Cartas, 
IV, 151 and 156), say December. 


Francisco Rodrigues’ Voyage of Discovery to the Spice Islands in 1512 (pp. Ixxix-lxxxiv) 


Francisco Rodrigues’ Voyage of Discovery in the Red Sea in 1513 

(pp. Ixxxiv-lxxxvi, 291-5) 



Java, and they set their course east, sailing between it and the 
island of Madura {Madeira).' Then Galvao describes the people 
of Java and continues: ‘Beyond the island of Java they sail along 
another called Bali (Balle), and another close to it called Lom- 
bok (Anjano), Sumbawa (Simbaba), Flores and Solor (Solor), 
Adunare and Kawula (o Galao), Malua or Alor {Mauluoa), 
Wettar {Vitara), Rozengain {Rosolanguim) and Aru (Arus ) — 
whence are brought the dried birds which are much valued for 
plumes — and others lying in the same parallel on the south side 
in seven or eight degrees of latitude, and so near to each other 
that it seems like a single land. The course along these islands 
must be above five hundred leagues; the cosmographers called 
them the Jaoas, though now they have different names as you 
see here. They say that beyond these islands there are others 
inhabited by white people . . After this digression Galvao 
returns to Abreu’s voyage from Madura onwards; ‘Antonio de 
Abreu and those that went with him set their course toward the 
north of a small island called Gunong Api (Gumuape), because 
from its highest point streams of fire run continuously to the sea, 
which is a wonderful thing to behold. From there they went to 
the islands of Bum {Burro) and Amboina {Damboino), coasted 
along that [island] called Ceram {Muar Damboino), and anchored 
in a haven called Guli Guli . . . where they burnt the ship in 
which Francisco Serrao was, for she was already old, and they 
went to Banda, which is in eight degrees on the south side, 
where they loaded cloves, nutmeg and mace in a junk that Fran- 
cisco Serrao bought there ... In the year 1512 they sailed from 
Banda towards Malacca, and in the shoals of Lucipara and 
Turtle Islands {Lusopino) Francisco Serrao was shipwrecked 
with his junk; from there he went back as far as the island of 
Mindanao (?) {Midanao) with nine or ten Portuguese who were 
with him, and the king of the Moluccas sent for them. These 
were the first Portuguese {Espanhoes) that came to the Clove 
Islands, which lie from the equinoctial towards the north one 
degree, where they stayed seven or eight years. Antonio de 
Abreu made his way to Malacca, having discovered all the sea 
and land [above] named^.’ 

‘ Tratado, ff. 35-6. 


H.C.S. I. 


Besides the data supplied by Barros and Galvao, some infor- 
mation can be gathered from other documents, mainly some of 
the maps and drawings of Rodrigues himself. On the map on 
fol. 36 we find the inscription pude hotnde sse perdeo a ssabaia 
(Pude, where the Sahaia was lost) corresponding to Sapudi 
island which lies near the easternmost point of Madura. Two of 
the drawings (fols. 94 and 95) show Sapudi island with the in- 
scription aqui se perdeo a sabaiaj j & esta Jlha se chama pude 
(here the Sahaia was lost, and this island is called Pude) at the 
south-eastern point of the island, which is recognizable by the 
small island Raas {Jlha de Raz) complete with the three islets 
near its eastern points Diogo Brandao says, in the evidence he 
gave in the ‘Process of the Moluccas’, that after the loss of 
Serrao’s ship, the other ship and the caravel went ‘near Banda 
but could not reach it on account of adverse weather, and they 
had to winter in a haven 25 leagues from Banda, called Gule 
Gule {Gullygully)\ and, the weather becoming favourable, three 
months later they went to Banda’^, Rui de Brito Patalim states 
in the same ‘Process of the Moluccas’ that, after Serrao’s ship 
was lost, ‘the two [remaining] vessels went to Banda because the 
weather was not favourable for going to the Moluccas^.’ Some 
other information, though indirect, may be gathered from a 
rutter from Malacca to Java and Banda, dating from the first 
half of the sixteenth century, contained in Livro de Marinharia. 
It says that when a ship arrives off Cape Flores she must sail 
towards Batu Tara or Komba, a small island twenty-five miles to 
the north of Lomblen, then go north-eastwards, and after passing 
Lucipara {Gilimdo) she must follow the course north-north-east 
which will take her to Burn, from where she will sail south- 
eastwards and reach Banda (p. 267). Pires himself wrote: ‘From 
it (Batu Tara) the route is straight ahead for Banda and Am- 
boina; . . . the other islands along by Solor are not much good 
for trade because they are out of reach’ (fol. 155V.), No doubt 
this was the route followed by Abreu, and so Rodrigues recorded 

* These statements of Rodrigues cannot be contradicted, because he was 
there, and what he says is confirmed by the evidence of Diogo Brandao, of 
Jorge de Albuquerque and of Andrade, although, besides Galvao ’s informa- 
tion, Barros says that Serrao’s ship was lost between Amboina and Banda. 

2 Cartas, iv, 170. ^ p_ if)y_ 



it on his map (fol. 37). This map — which covers the Flores Sea, 
the Banda Sea and the Moluccas — has only thirteen names 
and inscriptions, seven of which refer to the said route: Cape 
Flores — Batu Tara — Buru — ^Amboina — Ceram — Gule Gule — 

With these elements the itinerary of Abreu’s expedition from 
Malacca to Banda can be traced as follows: passing through the 
channel between Kundur island and Sumatra, and through 
Banka strait, they reached Grisee, in north-east Java, where 
they landed for the first time; sailing eastwards Serrao’s ship 
was lost at the south-eastern point of Sapudi island; they 
sighted Batu Tara and then Gunong Api, landed at Buru and 
Amboina, sailed along the south coast of Ceram, anchored at 
Gule Gule, where the two remaining vessels were delayed by 
bad weather, and finally sailed to Banda^ 

A junk was bought there for Serrao, and the three ships, after 
loading, set out on the return voyage. Shortly after they left 
Banda they ran into a storm and Serrao’s junk parted from the 

^ In his essay h' oeuvre geographique des Reinel et la decouverte des Moluques, 
Hamy dealt with Antdnio de Abreu’s voyage, analysing Rodrigues’ map and 
Galvao’s description. According to Hamy, instead of sailing directly to Batu 
Tara and Gunong Api, and then going north, straight to Buru — as he really 
did — after Java, Abreu would have carried on along the chain of islands, 
which lie to the east, as far as Am (530 miles east of the meridian Gunong Api 
— Buru), from where he would have returned west, discovered Banda, gone 
to Bum (more than 200 miles west-north- west), returned again eastwards, 
going to Gule Gule, and from there returned directly to Malacca. This 
strange interpretation is due mainly to a mistranslation of a word in Galvao’s 
description. After describing the people of Java, Galvao writes: ‘Beyond the 
island of Java they sail (or go = vam or “vao”) along another called Bali’, etc., 
meaning the people of Java (a gente desta ylha), whom he refers to in the 
previous sentence, not Abreu and his companions. When Galvao refers to 
the latter {Antonio Dabreu & os que com elle hiam), he always uses the past 
tense ‘they went’ {foram), ‘they took their course’ {tomaram sua derrota), and 
so forth. The same mistake was committed by Hakluyt, when he translated 
vam into ‘they sailed’, a mistake which Bethune overlooked in his Hakluyt 
Society’s edition of Galvao’s Tratado (p. 116). Hamy had to adapt all his 
interpretation to the mistranslation of the word vam, which led him to other 
mistakes (see note p. 204, and my article O Itinerdrio de Antonio de Abreu, in 
Seara Nova, No. 796, 14 Nov. 1942, Lisbon). 

Abreu arrived at Malacca in December 1512 and left with F. P. Andrade 
for India in January 1513 (Castanheda, iii, cii), and then sailed for Portugal. 
He died in the Azores before reaching the mother country, according to the 
evidence of Sequeira in the ‘Process of the Moluccas’, and Barros, iii, v, 6. 

Ixxxiv introduction 

other vessels and was shipwrecked on the Lucipara islets and 
shoals. Eventually Serrao and nine Portuguese who were with 
him reached the Moluccas, where he continued living till his 
death, which occurred probably at the beginning of 1521. 
Abreu’s ship and the caravel proceeded on their course until 
they sighted an island which Rodrigues represents in the first of 
his panoramic drawings, with an inscription saying that ‘This 
was the first land we sighted when we came from Banda to 
Malacca’. Though another inscription on the same drawing says 
that it is the ‘Beginning of the island of Solor’, it must corre- 
spond to Alor island (see note on Solor, p. 202). They followed 
westwards along the north coast of the chain of islands, Ro- 
drigues’ panoramic views being drawn as seen from the sea. The 
last seventeen of the sixty-eight drawings correspond to Java, 
and the last of them, which must have been drawn off Cape 
Krawang, north-east of modern Batavia, has an inscription 
saying: ‘And as far as this we discovered the island of Java.’ 
Then they sailed north-westwards and reached Malacca in 
December 1512, one year after they had started on their voyage. 
Of the 120 Portuguese who had left for the discovery of the 
Spice Islands, only 80 returned to Malacca; 10 remained there 
and 30 died during the voyage. See plate VI. 

The Expedition to the Red Sea. The next news of Fran- 
cisco Rodrigues is given by himself in his Booky when he 
describes the ‘Voyage that I made with Joao Gomes, captain of 
the caravel, to Dahlak’ (fol. 5r.). This voyage took place in June- 
July 1513, when a Portuguese fleet under the command of 
Afonso de Albuquerque entered the Red Sea for the first time. 
We do not know exactly what happened to Rodrigues when he 
returned to Malacca in December 1512, but he did not stay 
there long, and he probably sailed to India with Fernao Peres de 
Andrade and Antonio de Abreu in January 1513. By that time 
Albuquerque was in Goa assembling the fleet of twenty sail in 
which he went with 1700 Portuguese and about a thousand 
natives' to the Red Sea. In his letter of 4 Dec. 1513, written 

* All chroniclers agree that there were 1700 Portuguese, but they differ 
regarding the number of Malabars and Kanarese; they also agree as to the 
number of sail, except Correia, who says 24, and Castanheda 19. 



from Cannanore to King Manuel, describing at great length the 
expedition to the Red Sea, Albuquerque does not give the date 
he set sail from Goa, and the chroniclers are at great variance. 
Correia says Jan. 28, the Comentdrios Feb. 8, Barros and Gois 
Feb. 18, Castanheda only says ‘March 1513’. The fact that in 
Dec. 1512 Rodrigues was in Malacca, which he left perhaps at 
the beginning of Jan. 1513, and that he reached Goa in time to 
sail with Albuquerque’s fleet, shows that the date indicated by 
Barros and Gois, or even that given by Castanheda more 
vaguely, must be nearer the truth. 

The armada set sail to Cape Guardafui, went to Sokotra, and 
then proceeded to Aden. After an unsuccessful attempt to seize 
the town (March 27), Albuquerque sailed towards the Red Sea, 
which he entered in April. His idea was to go to Suez and de- 
stroy the fleet which, according to intelligence he had gathered, 
the Sultan of Egypt was mustering in order to attack the Portu- 
guese in India; but the monsoon was already nearing its end. 
The fleet passed beyond the island of Kamaran till it reached the 
islands Okban, Kotame and Entufash, where it lay at anchor for 
several days, waiting for favourable winds which would allow it 
to proceed; but as the winds did not blow, and drinking water 
was lacking, Albuquerque returned to Kamaran at the beginning 
of June. It was then that he decided to send Joao Gomes’ cara- 
vel, mentioned by Rodrigues, to explore as far as Dahlak and 
Massawa. Albuquerque in his letter of 4 Dec. to King Manuel 
reported as follows: ‘Returning to Kamaran for the second time, 
and having decided to make ready to sail in August, I determined 
to send the caravel out to sea to try to get di jelba^, in order to 
obtain some news of the land, for throughout the whole year the 
strait is navigated by these small rowing or sailing jelbas. I 
ordered her to try to reach the island of Dahlak (Dalaca) and 
Massuwa (Mefud), and I gave her a pilot from the same land. 
And with this I did not mean more than to send Joao Gomes in 
the caravel to spend some days discovering land throughout this 
strait wherever he could. He managed so well that he reached 
the island of Dahlak and some islands near it, where there are 
pearl fisheries; he could not get a [jelba], because they are light 
‘ A small native boat used on the shores of the Red Sea. 


and swift craft, which led him through those shoals and sand- 
banks in such a way that he did not follow the true navigation 
route. He arrived at Dahlak and moored off some shoals in the 
harbour. The caravel’s skiff went ashore; the people did not care 
to ask who they were, for throughout the whole strait our entry 
had been known for some days and the place warned, in such a 
manner that I certify Your Highness that no more boats or 
almadias^ came out, nor did birds light on the sea, so stupefied 
was the Red Sea with our arrival, and so deserted. They only 
asked them what they wanted. Joao Gomes told them that I had 
ordered him to go there, and if they wanted merchandise he 
would sell it. They answered that there were no merchants in 
the land, only fighting men. And so they took leave of them, and 
went around the island and explored it thoroughly. As he had no 
certain instructions from me, he did not draw near to the main 
land of Prester John, called Harkiko {Arquico), which could be 
seen as clearly as Ribatejo from Lisbon. Massawa lies farther, in 
a bay along the coast, one day’s voyage^. After he had seen 
everything and discovered all those islands around there, he 
returned by the main deep-sea route, through which the mer- 
chant ships sail. And he did no more than I have said, because 
he had no other directions or instructions from me, but to dis- 
cover the way, with the idea of our going there, should some 
wind arise that would enable us to sail; for if I had entirely mis- 
trusted the weather, I should have provided better in this case, 
and men I had ready with instructions and letters to send to 
Prester John. These men they would have set on the main land 
in charge of his captains, who would have taken them [with 
them]. I believe he would have done all this, trustworthy man 
that he is. And he brought me Dahlak painted (on a map), and 
the islands and sea, the best he could. I am sending this map to 
Your Highness’. 3 Barros also says that Joao Gomes brought ‘the 

* A small native boat. 

^ This part of Albuquerque’s letter does not agree entirely with Rodrigues 
when he says ‘we ran along the coast of Abyssinia for nine or ten days without 
seeing . . . any manner of port nor a place where we could disembark’ (fol. 6v.). 
In fact the island of Massawa lies four or five miles north-north-east of 

3 Cartas, i, 320-1. 



islands mapped as they lay, without anything else’U The pilot of 
Gomes’ caravel was one Domingos Fernandes^, so Rodrigues 
was probably sent by Albuquerque with the special task of sur- 
veying that part of the Red Sea. Though from the reference of 
Albuquerque and Barros, mainly the former, it might seem that 
Gomes himself had made the map sent to King Manuel, we may 
now safely assume that Rodrigues was its author ^ It is, how- 
ever, somewhat strange that Rodrigues does not mention such a 
map, or that it was not included in his Book. See plate VII. 

By the end of August Albuquerque was back in India. 

After the expedition to the Red Sea, no more is known of 
Rodrigues until 1519, when he went to China with Simao Peres 
de Andrade, as we have seen before. Barros says that Andrade’s 
ship was joined in Malacca by three junks, one of which was 
commanded by Rodrigues, but Gois mentions three ships [naos) 
instead of junks. The squadron arrived in the Canton River in 
August 1519. In the biographical note on Tome Pires I have 
already dealt at length with this disastrous expedition of 
Andrade. There Rodrigues again met Pires, whom he had 
known at least in Malacca, when in December 1512 he returned 
from the expedition to the Spice Islands. 

This is all that is known about Francisco Rodrigues. Viscount 
de Santarem says that he was a pilot born in the Azores, who in 
1553 was serving with the English when Thomas Windham 
(called Tomas de Gidom, or Gidne, in contemporary Portu- 
guese documents) attacked Madeira'*. The name is a common 
one, and elsewhere it has been shown to be highly improbable that 
the two pilots are one and the same person^. Many other name- 

’ Decada ii, viii, 2. ^ Comentdrios, iv, ix. 

^ Joao Gomes, who, as Barros (ll, vii, 5) says, was ‘nicknamed Cheira- 
dinheiro' (Scent-money), is frequently mentioned by the chroniclers but 
never as a mapmaker. He was killed in 1519 in the Maldives, where he had 
gone with an expedition to build a fortress in the island of Mafacalou (possi- 
bly a contraction of Male and Farukalu), and by the depredations and 
robberies he practised there he certainly justified the nickname. Gois, iv, 
xxxii; Correia, ii, 568-70. 

Quadro Diplomdtico, ii, pp. Ixxv seqq.\ J. Blake, Europeans in West Africa, 

1450-1560, p. 221. 

5 Viterbo, Trabalhos Nauticos dos Portuguezes, ll, 252-5; A. Cortesao, 
Cartografia, ii, 129-30. 



sakes of Francisco Rodrigues appear in the chronicles and 
documents referring to the first half of the sixteenth century, 
but they have nothing in common w^ith the pilot, cartographer 
and captain, who left his valuable Book to posterity. 


The Book of Francisco Rodrigues occupies the first part of 
the Paris codex. The original numeration was cut away in bind- 
ing, and the present numeration, added probably when the codex 
was bound, begins on the second fly-leaf and goes up to ii6. 
The numbers given in the original table of contents do not 
correspond with the present numeration, which causes much 
confusion. For instance, fols. 12 and 14 in the original table of 
contents correspond with present fols. 9 and 10, and fols. 20 
and 22 with 14 and 15, which might indicate that what Rodri- 
gues calls folios {folhas) were actually pages and that some folios 
are missing. But, besides the anomaly of some even numbers 
corresponding with rectos of folios, it happens that fol. 17 of 
the original table corresponds with 1 1 of the present numeration, 
22 with 15) 26 to 34 with 18 to 26, and 36 to 38 with 27 to 29. 
The next 87 folios are not included in the table of contents. 
Fols. 2 v., 3v., 4v., 7v., 8r., 9V., 14V., 15V. and i6v., the versos of 
fols. 17 to 36, 38 to 85, and 87 to 112, ii3r., and the versos of 
fols. 1 14 to 1 16, of the present numeration, are blank. All the 
writing, in text, maps and drawings, seems to be in Rodrigues’ 
hand. The highly ornamented word Emmanuel, at the head of the 
first page, shows that Rodrigues dedicated his Book to King 
Manuel. See plate XXVIII. 

The somewhat mixed contents of Rodrigues’ Book can be 
grouped under four distinct headings: nautical rules, rutters, 
maps, and panoramic drawings. After these have been described 
it will be possible to study the problem of the date of the Book's 

Nautical Rules. Fols. 7v.-i6r. and 86 contain nautical rules 
{Regimentos). The first rules, signed twice Framcisquo Rooiz or 
Roiz, are for ascertaining the latitude at noon, the position of the 
observer to the Sun in relation to the equator being known- these 


Rodrigues’ panoramic drawing (fol. 58) of Sukur Island or Rusa Linguette, seen from 
the south. It agrees in every detail with a modern description (pp. xci-xcii) 

Rodrigues’ panoramic drawing (fol. 54) of part of an island, perhaps Adunare (p. 526) 



rules are illustrated by a curious figure, in colours, for the 
graphic determination of the Sun’s declination (plate XXXI). 
They are followed by a table of the Sun’s declination for a leap 
year only. Next comes a ‘Canon of leagues’, much used by the 
Portuguese, for ascertaining the distance sailed along any point 
of the compass, for each degree of latitude, reckoned at 17^ 
leagues in one case and at i6| in the other. The first case is 
illustrated with a figure in colours showing a compass rose for 
measuring a degree in leagues (plate XXXIII). Finally, Ro- 
drigues gives a regimento for ascertaining the Sun’s declination, 
with some confused examples, and goes on to discuss the matter 
in a ‘Chapter to explain how you should navigate by shadows’. 

These nautical rules must be copied from manuscript regi- 
mentos which, after the end of the fifteenth century, passed from 
hand to hand among the Portuguese pilots. Some of these rules 
or instructions are found in the famous so-called Regimento de 
Munich, the earliest known edition of which dates from 1509 (?) 
though it must have been printed before, perhaps in 1495 (?). 
Such is the case with the first figure for determining the 
Sun’s declination and the table of the Sun’s declination for a 
leap year. The whole matter is duly dealt with, at some length, 
in the notes to the text^ 

Rutters. The description of Rodrigues’ voyage of explora- 
tion and survey to Dahlak, which carried him on in sight of the 
coast of Abyssinia, is the first rutter in the Book. This voyage 
has been dealt with above and in the notes to the text. The other 
rutter, rather schematic, is called ‘Route to China’, i.e., sailing 
from Malacca to the Canton River, and is discussed in a note to 
the text (pp. 302-3). They will be referred to again later in 
this Introduction. 

Maps. There are twenty-six maps or charts in the Book, each 
occupying the recto of one folio. There are also four folios 
intended for maps which were never drawn; one has only a 

' These notes were sketched in 1937 by the late Commander Prof. A. 
Fontoura da Costa, an authority on early Portuguese navigation. They were 
to some extent developed by Commander D. Gernez, of the French Navy, 
now in London. The former had undertaken to write a more detailed study 
of Rodrigues’ nautical rules, intended to form a special section of this 
Introduction, but unfortunately he died 7 Dec. 1940 (b. 9 Dec. 1869). 


system of wind roses, two have a central wind rose and a scale 
of leagues, and the other shows a scale of leagues only. 

The Viscount de Santarem had facsimiles made of the twenty- 
six maps and reproduced them in his Atlas of 1849^ These fac- 
similes, especially when in colours, are beautifully done, but of 
those of the maps with scales of latitudes and of leagues, only 
no. 4, corresponding to fol. 18, is complete; the others lack 
the scale of latitudes (except no. 16, corresponding to fol. 30, 
which has part of it), and some also the scale of leagues. This 
omission of non-essential parts of the maps was made, obviously, 
in order to save space. But there were slips too on the part of 
the copyist; for example, the wind rose on no. 7, corresponding 
to fol. 21, is incomplete, and on no. 20, corresponding to fol. 37, 
the word amhom (Amboina) is missing. The order of the repro- 
ductions in Santarem’s Atlas, numbered i to 26, corresponds 
with the following order of the MS folios: 116, 115, 114, 18 to 
35, 37, 36, 38 to 42. In Estudos de Cartographia Antiga (ii, 148- 
56) we find a description of the maps by Santarem, sometimes 
very detailed, but with too many inaccuracies^. 

* Though this Atlas is dated 1849, it comprises the maps published in the 
two previous editions, of 1841 and 1842, plus the maps engraved, or distri- 
buted, between 1845 and 1855. I have written elsewhere, at length, on the 
Viscount de Santarem and his monumental work. Cartografia, ii, 365-404. 
Besides the note (the precise date of which we do not know) published in 
Estudos de Cartografia Antiga, the first reference made by Santarem to Rodri- 
gues’ Book and its maps is found in a letter he addressed from Paris, 12 Oct. 
1850, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lisbon, which financed the publi- 
cation of the Atlases, stating that he ‘had just discovered the portolano of 
the Portuguese pilot Francisco Rodrigues, of 1529’. In another letter of 15 
Feb. 1851 he reported on the state of his work. On Nov. 1851 he wrote that 
four of the maps had already been engraved, and on 28 Jan. 1853 he reported 
the engraving of the other twenty-two maps of Rodrigues. These documents 
were published in 1909 by Jordan de Freitas, 02° Visconde de Santarem e os 
sens Atlas Geographicos, pp. 114-23. On 5 June 1854 Santarem sent to the 
Ministry a list of fifty-seven copies of the Atlas he had presented before 9 
April 1851 (new sheets were sent, or were supposed to be sent, loose later, as 
they were being engraved) to several learned institutions and personalities in 
various countries. 

2 For example, the map (fol. 22), with the outline of the Brazilian coast, is 
given as ‘West coast of South Africa’. Many mistakes, like this particular one, 
are probably due to the difficulty of interpreting Santar^m’s writing; but 
others were undoubtedly made by him. Two instances: When describing 
the sketch with the Gulf of Tong-King (fol. 38), he writes — ‘On the wind 
rhumb is written the word Varia, which seems to indicate the compass 



The maps, following the order in which they occur in the 
Book, can be divided in five groups: {a) The first nine maps, 
from Europe to East Africa, are drawn on the approximate scale 
I : 13,000,000 and are more or less copied from existing Portu- 
guese prototypes; (6) the three from North-east Africa to Malacca 
are drawn on the same scale and contain a quantity of new 
information; (c) the six from Sumatra to the Moluccas are drawn 
on various scales from i : 4,500,000 to nearly i : 8,000,000 and 
are entirely new; {d) the five maps from Malacca to north China, 
which are entirely new, though simple sketches; {e) the three 
maps with the Mediterranean and Black Sea are drawn on the 
approximate scale i : 6,000,000 and follow existing prototypes. 
All the maps but the last three have the word norte, in small 
writing, near the end of the rhumb line from the central wind rose 
which points northwards. These maps, which are reproduced 
from photographs for the first time in the present work, are 
described in Appendix II. 

Panoramic Drawings. These occupy the rectos of 69 folios — 
43 to 85 and 87 to 1 1 2. Only the first drawing is in colours; the 
last twenty-four drawings show only the outline of beaches and 
mountains, but the first forty-five show also plants, native houses 
and the natives themselves. 

All these drawings were made when Rodrigues was returning 
from Banda to Malacca, as he saw the land from the sea, sailing 
along the north coast of the chain of islands from Alor to western 
Java. The outlines of mountains and sea coasts are continuous 
through almost all the drawings, as if separate drawings were 
cut from a general one; this forms a remarkably accurate view of 
these islands as seen from the sea. Most of the mountains, bays, 
and villages shown can easily be identified if we compare the 
drawings with, for instance, the Eastern Archipelago Pilot, 
vol. II. For example, the Pilot says: ‘Sukur island or Rusa Lin- 

variation in these regions.’ ‘Varia’ is simply a misreading of the word norte, 
which is written on twenty-three of the twenty-six maps, indicating the north. 
On the description of the sketch with the Canton River (fol. 40) Santar6m 
wrote: ‘At the head we read, in Chinese characters, the name of a city, and 
next — Cidade da China.’ The ‘Chinese characters’ are simply a flourished 
letter A. But these were only notes, published posthumously, without any 
editing, and rather carelessly; Santar^m was too careful and scrupulous to 
publish them without previous checking. 


guette has a conspicuous summit, 865 feet {262^7) high, on its 
north-eastern side, probably the remains of an old crater; the 
western side of this peak descends very steeply to a fresh-water 
lake. ... In the south-western part the island is low and flat. 
The entire island is wooded, but uninhabited. There is a sandy 
beach along the west coast, and the east coast is rocky; the north 
and south coasts are alternately sandy and rocky. A rock, with a 
single tree on it, lies on the coastal reef extending about two 
cables from the south-east point of the island.’ This description 
corresponds exactly with the drawing of the Jlha Nusaramgeti 
(fol. 58), even to the ‘rock with a single tree on it’. See plate VIII. 

The note of realism given to many of the first forty-five draw- 
ings, with the representation of volcanoes in activity, houses, 
plants and natives, is sometimes particularly vivid, as in fol. 60. 
This no doubt represents the village of Mausambi, in Flores, 
which appears in the drawing just east of Raja Island, and shows 
a native palace or temple surrounded by a palisade of stakes, 
houses, plants and several natives, one of them climbing a coco- 
nut palm, the other on top of a hill shooting with a bow at a 
strange bird (perhaps a nore, a variety of parrot which Rodrigues 
saw in Amboina, Ceram or Banda) perched on a lofty mountain 
(probably Olo Muku, 3006 ft.) only the summit of which is 
visible. The drawings are described in Appendix II. 

One of the curious features of these drawings is the rather 
artistically drawn plants which decorate many of them. It 
appears that Rodrigues wanted to give some idea of the local 
flora, but if that is the case he made a very imperfect attempt, and 
his drawings are of little use for identifying the plants. The 
coconut palm {Cocus nucifera Linn.) is the only species which 
can be identified with certainty; it appears in several of the 
drawings, near the shore. A grass which figures on nearly all 
the drawings is probably Imperata cylindrica Beauv., a species 
with silvery spikes which is common in the Malayan islands and 
would probably attract the attention of any one sketching the 
flora. This grass comes up in large quantities wherever the 
ground is cleared, and soon becomes a pest. It is known to the 
Malays as alang-alang. The grass-drawings are not all uniform, 
but it seems that this species must be intended. Another species 



whose identity is almost certain is Gynandropsis gynandra Briq., 
a widespread tropical weed; this appears in drawing fol, 63. A 
plant with broad heart-shaped leaves, which appears in some of 
the drawings, looks like Alocasia macrorrhiza Schott, an Aroid 
much cultivated in Malaya. Apart from the above it is not 
possible to make any suggestion with confidence ^ 

The Date of Rodrigues’ Book. Rodrigues’ Book, com- 
posed of several distinct parts, was written and drawn over a 
period of years. When the Viscount de Santarem reproduced 
Rodrigues’ maps in the Atlas of 1849 described them in the 
note in Estudos de Cartografia Antiga, he said that they were 
drawn between 1524 and 1530; but he did not give the reason 
for his assertion. The first nine maps, of the western European, 
Brazilian and African coasts, and the last three, of the Medi- 
terranean and Black seas, are copied from prototypes now more 
or less known and their interest is limited; but the fourteen maps 
from Suez to China, mainly those of the Far East, which are 
entirely new, are of exceptional importance and their dating has 
particular interest for the history of the cartography of those 
regions; they therefore deserve special attention. The dating of 
these maps of the East Indies has been studied by C. H, Coote, 
E. T. Hamy, G. Collingridge, J. Denuce and E. C. Abendanon. 
After discussing the problem in my Cartografia, I came to 
the conclusion ‘that it cannot be said, as some of the above 
authors have done, that the date of the Atlas (i.e., Rodrigues’ 
maps of the Eastern Archipelago) is 15 1 1-13 or ±1512, because 
it was made a little after 1512, though it does not seem an 
easy task to determine its precise date — unless some document 
can be found which will supply us with elements so far un- 
known’ (ii, 129). 

Rodrigues drew or at least completed his maps at different 
dates, as can be seen at once from the part which comprises 
the nautical rules and the maps as far as Malacca, mentioned 

^ Mr. J. E. Dandy, of the British Museum (Natural History), to whom I 
owe the above information on the botanical aspect of the drawings, tells me 
that Mr. I. H. Burkill, a botanist with first-hand knowledge of the Malayan 
flora, ‘thinks that the author of the drawings, judged by his pen-work, was a 
bit of an artist, and that he was just playing with the forms he saw — designing 
in fact.’ 



in the original table of contents, and all the other matter 
rutters, the last fourteen maps, and the panoramic drawings not 
mentioned in the table of contents. No doubt the map which shows 
the eastern part of the Red Sea (fob 27) was drawn before 
Rodrigues’ expedition to Dahlak and the coast of Abyssinia in 
1513, otherwise he would have represented on the map the 
islands he saw, which he does not. On the other hand, the 
inscription agoada de Joham lopez dalluimj die descobriu daqui 
ate Japara (Watering place of Joao Lopes de Alvim. He dis- 
covered from here to Japara), on the map with north-western 
Java (fol. 30), refers to a voyage made in March 1513 (see 
p. 521 ). This shows that the map was drawn after that date. It 
might be argued that this inscription was added some time after 
the map had been drawn, but its names and inscriptions seem 
to have been written at one and the same time. It is not easy to 
find on the other maps any indication which might lead to an 
exact determination of their date. The only conclusion we can 
reach is that some of the maps, as those with the Red Sea and 
India (fols. 27, 28) or at least the former, were made before 
April 1513, when Albuquerque entered the Red Sea. But they 
must have been made at the beginning of 15 ii or not much 
before, because it is not very likely that Rodrigues, the ‘young 
man’ referred to by Albuquerque, had much time to draw 
them before the seizure of Malacca in August and his sailing for 
the discovery of the Spice Islands in December of that year. The 
other twelve eastern maps (between fols. 29 and 42) were drawn 
in 1513 or shortly afterwards, probably with the help of 
sketches and notes gathered during the voyage of 1512 and 
information obtained from oriental pilots. 

Rodrigues certainly drew these maps before his voyage to the 
Canton River in 1519. We can even infer that they were not 
drawn after or much after 1513. The rutter from Malacca to the 
Canton River, written on the verso of fol. 37, facing the first of 
the maps connected with the route to China, indicates that it 
was added after they had been drawn. This rutter was obviously 
based on information gathered from some oriental pilot, possibly 
Chinese, before Rodrigues had direct news from the first Portu- 
guese who went to China in 1513 and returned to Malacca about 

{Itiw dv 



the middle of 1514 (see note p. 120), otherwise it would not be 
so schematic, and probably the distances would have been given 
in leagues, not in nativeyao^ (note pp. 302-3). Rodrigues was in 
India by the end of August 1513, back from the Red Sea. We do 
not know whether he remained there or went again to Malacca, 
but we may assume that he received the information reporting 
the voyage of Alvim to Java in March 1513, just before or when 
he was drawing the maps of the Eastern Archipelago and the 
Far East which are contained in his Book. 

In the rule to ascertain the Sun’s declination by the shadows 
(fol. 86r.), Rodrigues gives an example for the year 1520, related 
to a Perpetual Almanach of 1508, which might suggest that 
this part of the Book was written in 1520, after Rodrigues had 
gone to China in 1519. But if this was so, we can hardly explain 
why the Book does not contain a better rutter and better maps 
recording the voyage from Malacca to the Canton River. The 
year 1520 referred to was, in all probability, a mere example 
without any bearing on the actual year of the writing. 

It seems from all this that Rodrigues’ Book was abruptly sent 
to Lisbon, perhaps on some urgent official demand, shortly 
after he drew the maps of the Eastern Archipelago and China, 
i.e., about 1514. In fact he had no time to complete some maps 
for which folios were prepared but never used, nor could he 
finish the panoramic drawings of Java, left in outline, but 
which he probably intended to decorate like the others. Though 
positive evidence is scant and much of the deduction has to be 
circumstantial, we come to the conclusion that Rodrigues’ Book 
was finished not later than 1514, and that the maps of the East- 
ern Archipelago and the Far East, the most important of all, can 
be dated circa 1513. 

Value of Francisco Rodrigues’ Work. Rodrigues’ Book is 
an important document for the history of geography. Some of 
its components, for instance, the nautical rules and part of the 
maps, may be regarded simply as contributions towards the 
study of a subject already well documented in contemporary and 
earlier sources; students, however, may find in them abundant 
matter for speculation and discussion. As regards the rutters 
of the voyage to Dahlak and the route from Malacca to China, 



the twelve maps of the Eastern Archipelago and coasts from the 
Bay of Bengal to China, and the panoramic drawings of the 
southern islands of the Eastern Archipelago, these are entirely 
new, and their value and importance are paramount. 

Both the rutters have the particular interest of being the first 
known, at least in a modern European language, for any specific 
voyage in the Red Sea and in the Far East. It is much to be 
regretted that the rutters of Rodrigues’ voyages to the Spice 
Islands in 1512 and to China in 1519, which he probably wrote, 
have not come down to us. We can hardly understand why he 
did not include in his Book a rutter of the voyage to Banda. Per- 
haps he was unable to finish it in time, before the Book was 
suddenly sent to Lisbon. As regards a map of the Red Sea made 
during or after the expedition of 15 13, it may be assumed that he 
drew such a map and that it was sent by Albuquerque to King 
Manuel, as stated above. With his taste for writing about his 
voyages and observations, and the skill shown in his carto- 
graphical work, there is no doubt that Rodrigues wrote much 
more and drew many more maps, all now unfortunately lost. 

The six maps representing the Eastern Archipelago constitute 
the most important part of the Book, because they are the first of 
that part of the world ever drawn by an European as the result 
of his direct observation. The sequence of panoramic drawings, 
though comparatively less important, is apparently unmatched 
and full of interest, their accuracy being remarkable. 

Francisco Rodrigues’ Book and the Suma Oriental of Tome 
Pires, written about the same time, complement each other to 
some extent. Their inclusion in the same codex was as natural 
as is their publication together in the present edition. 


PREFACE Foi. Iiyr. 

To the most serene prince, the most high and 
most powerful King the King our Lord, here 
begins the preface to the Suma Oriental (Account 
of the East). 

I T is natural for men to desire knowledge, as the master of 
philosophy testifies; and as this desire is active and fervent in 
each one according to what befits him, it is not without merit 
that it is stronger in your Royal Majesty than in any other prince 
in the world, for your dominions are the greatest. Who does not 
know that they stretch from the beginning of Africa to China, 
including the whole of Africa and Asia and part of Europe along 
the sea coast, with an infinity of islands, [and that they are] very 
great, rich and very populous within their boundaries, in which 
dominions there, are many provinces, and a large number of 
kingdoms and a multitude of regions over which your Royal 
Highness is lord, with beautiful and [unjconquerable fortresses, 
with many men and arms and exercises of war, subjugating 
kingdoms in the heart of the Moorish dominions? Who can doubt 
that your armadas are the largest in the world, as there are 
always plenty for some to go to Arabia, others to the First India, 
others to the Second and the Third, in such a way that no one 
has power to navigate anywhere in your dominions without your 
permission, and the Moors in the farthest corners are as much 
intimidated as those in the centre? It is certainly a thing deserv- 
ing of great glory that such great kings and lords as those of 
these parts, that is the Sultan of Cairo, the king of Aden, the 
king of Ormuz, the Sheikh Ismail {Xequesmaell) or Sophy — a 
man famous throughout the world — the Nodhakis {Naitaques), 

A I H.C.S. I. 



Rajputs (Resputes), Cambay on this side [of India], India from 
Malabar to the province of Choromandel, and Klings (Quelijs), 
the kingdoms of Orissa (Orixa), of Bengal {Bengala), Arakan 
(Racan), Pegu, Siam (Siaoo), Kedah {Queda), Malacca, Pahang 
(Pahaoo), Trengganu {Talimganor), Patani, Trang {Terrdoo), 
Odia, Cambodia, Cochin-China [Cauchi China), China with 
all the islands, powerful peoples both on sea and on land — upon 
all these Your Highness wages war, carrying your banners into 
their lands in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of all these, 
those that are vassals live peaceably and those that are rebels 
live in fire and torment and are more occupied in protecting 
themselves than in fighting with your armadas. All this is caused 
by Your Highness’ great power here, which is exercised and 
extended in war by the most magnificent and exalted knight 
Afonso de Albuquerque, your Captain-General, who is brave, 
astute and provident in war and most wise in the other human 
arts, and who never ceases his labours, fighting continuously 
now in High India, now in Arabia, and in the midst of it all he 
never ceases fighting against the name of Mohammed {Mafa- 
mede). It is clear that God’s omnipotence is favouring these 
efforts because He wills to make Christianity take root throughout 
your kingdoms, and that these things are accomplished by an 
immense expenditure of money such as no Christian King has 
ever made before, because they are never ceasing; yet it must all 
be considered as money well spent because it is a thing which so 
exalts, increases and augments our holy Catholic faith, bringing 
such humiliation, loss and damage to the false diabolic opinion 
of the abominable, ignominious, false Mohammed, the head of 
all the vain Moorish religion, that Your Highness has gained 
great fame and honour among princes in this world and infinite 
merit before the Most High God, who has so magnificently 
begun, carried on and almost finished these things. 

First For which reasons — that happen fortunately — occupied as I am 

foreword, with duties which brought me to India and with others entailing 
a great deal of work that were allotted to me here, I wished that 
I had some spare time in which I could write something true, so 
that time could be profitably spent in reading it; and I decided 
to undertake this Suma Oriental, and to begin with the Red or 



Arabian Sea and go as far as China including all the islands and 
to leave out the African part as that is better known. I am not 
undertaking this account with bold presumption, because that 
would not be modest, but I ask that where I may be found 
lacking, it be excused, because my efforts were in good faith, for 
I have seen such great things that, without offence to some 
people who have written, their works needed to be corrected. 

It seemed to me an honourable thing to put some part of all this 
glory into writing, as if I were so bold as to have the mind of a 
Greek, the tongue of a Roman and Betic vivacity | to speak of Fol.nyv. 
such simple, and yet such fortunate things as these of the East; 
but as I am a Lusitanian and a man of the people, whose custom 
it is to belittle their glories and to make too much of the bad 
things; and as the work of composing treatises or summaries is 
more for foreigners than for natives, because they know how to 
soften their compositions; for instance, we see them tell wonders 
of the Mediterranean Sea, which is a fifteen days’ voyage, always 
within sight of land; so what would they do if they saw the 
famous eastern conquest of all the ocean, in the course of which 
there were things as deserving of remembrance and honour 
among men as they were accounted worthy before God. If this 
account is not so impressive as it should be, put it down (.?) to 
my being versed in another art, which I have learnt in the course 
of time and in which I could give a better account of myself, 
because necessity was there a stronger incentive to me than in 
this book reason. 

If I were as speedy as the troglodites and the people who Second 
killed the Viceroys in going to see for myself, as I was diligent 
in research into that which I did not see, it would not be sur- 
prising if this brief account were more copious (instead of being 
limited to the land measured along the sea coast). Anyone who 
likes may laugh at me for going out of my province and out of 
my proper sphere; but having seen how men speak about things 
of which they know nothing, without being reproved, it seemed 
to me that I was less at fault in speaking of these matters, 

* D. Francisco de Almeida, first Viceroy of India. He was killed with sixty- 
four other Portuguese, of whom twelve were captains, by the natives in Table 
Bay, Cape of Good Hope, on i March 1510. 



because the things I want to speak of are for Your Highness’ 
service and I am your subject and I have a reason for writing if 
I get the help that is befitting. If I cannot speak with fitting 
distinction, then the fault is mine, because I have no knowledge 
of my own. And in this Suma I shall speak not only of the 
division of the parts, provinces, kingdoms and regions and their 
boundaries, but also of the dealings and trade that they have 
with one another, which trading in merchandise is so necessary 
that without it the world could not go on. It is this that en- 
nobles kingdoms and makes their people great, that ennobles 
cities, that brings war and peace. In this world it is customary 
for merchandise to be clean — I do not speak of the dealings in it, 
which are held in esteem — for what can be better than that 
which is based on truth. Pope Paul II was originally a merchant 
and he was not ashamed of the time he spent in trade, and the 
scholars of Athens used to praise trade as a wonderful thing, and 
nowadays it is carried on throughout the world, and particu- 
larly in these parts it is held in such high esteem that the great 
lords here do not do anything else but trade. It is pleasant, 
necessary and convenient, although it brings reverses, which 
make it more esteemed. 

Third I begin in accordance with the everyday procedure in every 
foreword, ^ork, things being first marked out and then cut. The 

cmj:erning Suma will be divided up by the lines of the five principal 

arrange- rivers in this part of Asia: the Nile, the Tigris, the Euphrates, 
ment [of Indus and the Ganges. 

Suma]. divides Africa from Asia and Persia of the Arabians 

as far as the Tigris; from the Tigris to the Euphrates is the pro- 
vince of the Nodhakis Persians; from the Euphrates to the Indus 
Fol.iiSr. are the Rajputs | and Cambay on this side of Goa; from the 
Indus to the Ganges is Malabar with India and the province of 
the Klings which contains the kingdom of Orissa. The Ganges 
has two mouths, one in Cambodia and the other in Bengal, 
which contains many kingdoms as we shall see later, and from 
Cambodia to China the rising of each river will be dealt with. 
And the present Suma will be divided into five books: the first 
will treat of Arabia, Egypt and Persia as far as Cambay; the 
second will be from Cambay to Bhatkal (Baticalla); the third 



will be from Bhatkal to Bengal; the fourth will be from Bengal 
to China; the fifth will be all the islands and that will be the end 
of the Suma. 

It seemed to me convenient in this work to follow the same Division 
mechanical way as any craftsman uses in his work, to mark out , 
and then cut it. The Suma Oriental is divided into four parts or Suma. 
books'; the first will deal with the beginning of Asia, starting 
from Africa to the First India; the second will be from the First 
India to the end of Middle India^; the third will be the High 
India on the other side of the Ganges, ending at Ayuthia {Odia)\ 
the fourth will be about the kingdom of China and all the pro- 
vinces subject to it, with the noble island of Liu Kiu (Lequeos), 

Japan (Janpon), Borneo, the Lufoes and the Macassars {Maca- 
ceres)\ the fifth will be about all the islands in detail. And I will 
divide Asia according to the principal rivers, giving the begin- 
ning and the end of each, and if there appears to be anything 
added or left out in this division, thus differing from the cosmo- 
graphy of Friar Anselm^ and Ptolemy and others, it must not 
be looked upon as an invention, because their knowledge was 
based on second-hand information rather than experience, and 
we here have been through everything, and experienced it and 
seen it. And if this reason be not acceptable it must be remem- 
bered that a tailor often makes mistakes in cutting in a small 
area, so it is very much more difficult over such a great distance. 

I will not try to excuse myself for any carelessness in not speak- 

' ‘Four’ is an obvious mistake for five. There is throughout great confusion 
in the division of the Suma, and the three plans proposed by Pires do not 
coincide. Moreover he added, out of place, new matter which does not fit 
properly in any of the five books. To complicate matters still further, the 
transcriber does not seem to have followed the order in which Pires wrote, 
and when the MS was bound some folios were misplaced. I have rearranged 
the English text, as explained in the Introduction, p. Ixxii. 

2 Farther on (p. 65) Pires identifies Second India with Middle India. 

3 Fradanselltno or ‘Frade Anselmo’, i.e. Friar Anselm, a Franciscan friar 
who visited the Holy Land in 1507-8, and in 1509 published a pamphlet — 
Descriptio Terr<x Sanctce. It is included in Joannes de Stobnicza — Introductio 
inPtolomeicosmographiam, etc., ff 33-44, Cracoviae, and inHenricus Canisius — 
Thesaurus Monumentorum, etc., Tom. iv, pp. 776-794. Antuerpiae, 1725. Friar 
Anselm’s nationality is unknown, but possibly he was a Pole. Pires may have 
known of, or had a copy of, the 1509 pamphlet, but it seems that he used it 
in this citation only. 



ing as clearly as I should, because most of my time was taken up 
with my duties in connexion with Your Highness’ revenue, and 
the time I devoted to the present work was my leisure, as may 
be seen from the register of the accounts I kept in Malacca and 
of my duties in the factory there, all at the command of the 
Captain-General, who ordered it in Your Highness’ service^; of 
which I made lengthier reports. 

* It should be made clear that the duties performed at the command of the 
Captain-General were his official tasks, and not the work of his leisure. 

Fol. ii8v. 




Compiled by TOME FIRES 



[Egypt to Ormuz — Ormuz — Persia — 

Nodhakis — Rajputs — Cambay] 


JK SIA is separated from Africa on the Mediterranean side Division 
by Alexandria, and on the eastern side by the River Nile 
A. ^and from ocean by the south, according to this division, Africa. 
it is separated from the Abyssinian Ethiopia by it and Arabia 

The Nile, the first and most important river, rises near the Birth of 
Cape of Good Hope and flows through Abyssinia in small the Nile, 
streams; at the end of Abyssinia, near Arabia Felix, it becomes 
navigable; it takes an easy course to Egypt and flows into the 
Mediterranean Sea through several mouths, the chief of which 
is Damietta (Damjata), which passes within about half a league 
of the city of Cairo, In July and August it is in flood and waters 
the land, and the people who live on the banks of the river take 
their flocks and belongings and go up to the hills; and when the 
water goes down and begins to dry, they sow, from September 
onwards. The people of Egypt say that this miracle proceeds 
from the Abyssinians, a Christian people, and for this reason the 
Abyssinians can go freely and untaxed throughout the Sultan’s 

* This confused sentence is written exactly the same in the Lisbon MS 
but it was rearranged in Ramusio’s translation. 




land, and are held in esteem. The river flows violently and from 
Abyssinia it is not good to navigate in that direction, 

Abyssinia. Abyssinia is bounded on the Red Sea side by Arabia Felix; 

on the African side by the deserts and by part of Ethiopia; on 
the ocean side from Guardafui to Sofala it is sixty leagues away 
from the sea. They are Christians. They have much land and 
they have both warriors and merchants. They have foodstuffs in 
their land and gold. They have no seaports and come to trade in 
Zeila and Berbera and in the Arabian ports along the strait. 
These people are renowned among the Ethiopians. They all 
have woolly hair, and instead of being baptized they are branded 
on the forehead. They have priests, patriarchs and other monks. 
They go on pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Mount Sinai every 
year. They are considered in these parts to be loyal, true and 
faithful knights, and often from being slaves they rise to be 
kings, chiefly in Bengal. 

People come from Aden, from Sheher {Xariy, from Fartak, 
from Dahlak and Suakin to trade with these Abyssinians. The 
things most prized in Abyssinia are rosewater, dried roses, glass 
beads, coarse cloth from Cambay and some silks, all kinds of 
beads, crystal, white cloths, bales of dates, opium. 

Abyssinian merchandise — gold, ivory, horses, slaves, food- 
stuffs, etc. 

Fol. iigr. It is convenient that we should continue our account from 
here to China, In the Asiatic part along the side of the sea every- 
thing is measured and described. This sea has three names: Red 
Sea, Arabian Sea and Strait of Mecca — Red Sea because of the 
red barriers which are at the end near Suez, Arabian Sea because 
it is surrounded by the Arabs, and Strait of Mecca because 
Mecca, a place of pilgrimage for the Moors, whose Mohammed 
was born there, is within it; but the proper name is the Arabian 

Size of From the entrance to this strait up to Suez this sea is bordered 

this sea. |3y four provinces: on the eastern side lies Arabia Petrea, on the 
Abyssinian side Arabia Felix. This reaches as far as the Dahlak 
islands, and Arabia Petrea extends almost to Mecca. Arabia 

' Xari, more often called Xaer or Xael by the sixteenth-century Portu- 
guese. The present town of Sheher or Esh-Shihr on the coast of Hadhramaut. 



Deserta begins at Mecca and extends to Tor and goes along 
towards the Mediterranean Sea and divides the province of 
Egypt from the land of Judea. From Tor and Dahlak is the 
province of Egypt, that is, it occupies the point or almost the 
third part of the strait surrounding it. 

The strait is entirely surrounded by the above-mentioned 
lands which are almost all desert and uninhabited and bare with- 
out fruit anywhere. There are some islands in the strait with a 
few inhabitants, like Kamaran, Dahlak, and Suakin, which are 
there. In this strait there are many rocky banks and they are 
difficult to navigate. Men do not navigate except by day; they 
can always anchor. The best sailing is from the entrance to the 
strait as far as Kamaran. It is worse from Kamaran to Jidda and 
much worse from Jidda to Tor. From Tor to Suez is a route for 
small boats [only] even by day, because it is all dirty and bad. 

This strait has hot winds, so that anything that die, either man 
or beast, is not allowed to putrefy, but is dried, and from these 
animals mummy is brought from there to our part of the world. 

This is not really the mummy, it is the moisture which flows from 
the dead bodies, after they have been embalmed with Socotrine 
aloes^ and myrrh, so that the liquid which flows from our bodies 
and from these substances is called mummy^. 

The land of Egypt begins at the Mediterranean Sea and in- FoI. iigv. 
eludes part of the strait of Mecca. It is bounded on one side by 

■1 D * 

Africa and on the other by Arabia Deserta of Judea. It is all land 
that is sown at the flooding of the Nile and this sowing is done 
more between Cairo and our Mediterranean Sea, because be- 
tween Cairo and the strait it is uncultivated land, but is easier 
to travel over than the desert. In this province is the city of 
Thebes where Theban opium is made, which is known here as 
afiam, a thing which is much used here for eating, and in our 

* Watt says that ‘Indian aloes seem first to have been mentioned by Garcia 
da Orta (1563, Coll. Il) as prepared particularly in Cambay and Bengal’. The 
Commercial Products of India, p. 59. Though, when dealing with the Cambay 
trade, Pires does not mention aloes among the products exported or imported, 
he refers to the aloes of Cambay in his letter of 27 Jan. 1516 (Appendix I). 

2 In the same letter of 27 Jan. 1516, Pires refers at length to this disgusting 
stuff, which was formerly supposed to have magical and medicinal 
properties; but he was cautious enough to state his disbelief. 



country it kills. In this country of Egypt it does not rain except 
for a day or less once a year or once in two years. And the rain 
which falls is warm, and is of no use. In order to make use of the 
land, when the Nile is in flood they dam the water, so that they 
can afterwards water the gardens. All this province is lacking 
in water. 

Where the The chief city of all this land is Cairo. The Sultan is always 

Sultan is. there. He has many slaves to guard him, Mamelukes, which in 
the language of the country means people bought with money. 
There must be as many as five thousand of these and they guard 
his person. Most of them are renegades who were Christians. He 
has a large number of wives. He never goes out, nor is he ever 
seen by the people of the city. He has ministers of Justice — who 
rarely administer it. When they are annoyed with the Sultan 
these Mamelukes choose someone else and kill the other. He 
must be a renegade and they say that this is done because the 
Christians apostatize in order to attain this dignity — which may 
be true. Neither son nor relative inherits, but successors are 
chosen in the said way. He must be a renegade Christian and the 
more times he has been sold the greater his consequence in the 
kingdom. The Sultans of Cairo are very poor and even more so 
now. Those of this kingdom are called Magarijs^ in these parts. 
In all his province he has no king, only captains. The Moorish 
Sophy of Persia, who is known as Sheikh Ismail here, is at war 
with him, as we shall see later in the description of Ormuz, and 
he is losing part of it; but as their sons do not succeed, they do 
not work for the liberty of their country. 

He has dominion over Judea and some part of Syria, the prin- 
cipal city of which is Damascus, as well as over Chaldea, Pales- 
tine and Aydumea^. He is not very well obeyed in any of these 
parts. The greatest revenue he had, on which he maintained 
himself, was from the pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre and the 
duties on spice passing through Cairo. He is now already getting 
very little from the spices, and please God that he will get still 

• From the kingdom of Mafaram, probably Mekran according to Dan- 
vers, The Portuguese in India, i, 314. 

2 Perhaps Aidin, a petty Turkish sultanate near Smyrna in the fifteenth 
century. Today it is a vilayet. 



less from the Holy Sepulchre. The other neighbouring regions 
are every day joining the Sheikh Ismail against him. 

The city of Jidda is on a river, half a league from the sea. It is City of 
almost as large a city as Aden but not so strong. It has not such 
walls and is said to be a weak thing. It must have about five thou- 
sand inhabitants and it belongs to the Sultan of Cairo. [ Every Pol. izor. 
year one of the Sultan’s slaves is made captain with revenues. The 
city has no natural products or fruits except dates. Much meat, 
fish, wheat, rice, barley and millet are brought from Zeila and 
Berbera and from the islands of Suakin. It has many merchants 
and is a great trading city. Ships anchor half a league away and 
that half league to the city is a fathom deep at low tide and three 
fathoms at high tide. There are men for the garrison, horsemen. 

The port has water in abundance. All the merchandise of India 
is unloaded at Jidda. It is about ten days’ journey from Aden. 

A day’s journey on land from Jidda is Mecca where Moham- The 
med was born and his descendants. The house of Mecca is large °f 


and well built. It has about a thousand people, many of them 
merchants. The Captain of the city is called Xecbarqate^. He is 
one of the Sultan of Cairo’s men. This place has no water. It 
comes in a cart from a place called Arafat (Arefet) a league from 
Mecca^. The foodstuffs come from Jidda. 

Medina is four leagues journey from Mecca, on the road to Medina 
Cairo, some way into the desert of Arabia Deserta. It has about 
a hundred inhabitants. Mohammed with his daughter, son-in- 
law and companions, lies in a tower in this place. It is a great 
place of pilgrimage. It has good dates and little water. It is forty 
days’ journey from Cairo to Medina, four from Medina to 
Mecca, one from Mecca to Jidda and ten from Jidda to Aden 
with [a favourable] wind. 

Suez is three days’ journey from Cairo. It is the end of the Where the 
straits and is not a port, nor is it an inhabited place. They say 
that an armada is being prepared there against us. There are no 

* Barakat II, who was sherif of Mecca from 1497 to 1525, being a vassal of 
the Egyptian Sultan. 

* There is a place called Kahwat Arafat, with a spring conspicuously 
marked, on the i : 253,440 War Office map of S.W. Arabia, some 30 miles 
(9 leagues) due east of Mecca. This spring still supplies Mecca by means of a 
covered water conduit. 




fortresses nor inhabited places along this three days’ journey, 
only the sea, which is full of rocks and shallows. The wood, at 
least, that they need has to come from outside his kingdoms, 
because in all his land and all round the straits there is nothing 
but sea rushes which grow on beautiful rocks. 

The people of this province are warlike. They have many 
caparisoned horses and they have guns. They are dextrous with 
the lance on horseback, holding the bridle in one hand, and they 
wear spurs like the Arabian warriors. They have camels with 
two humps. These people have many mercenaries who fight so 
that the others may live by their efforts, and some of them go 
about pillaging the country. There is little justice because of the 
fighting people, for they do not live in harmony together. 
Christians In this province and also among the Arabs there are many 
Christians — some of them circumcized and some of them not. 
The circumcized are called Jacobites and the others Melchites. 
They have two Lents, one at Christmas and the other the same 
as ours. They do not marry one another [i.e. Jacobites do not 
marry Melchites] and many of them are hermits and men of holy 
life, and some of them are men of property and they are numer- 
ous. They are found in Jidda, in Tor and in Mecca. They are 
considered by these people to be good men. 

Fol 1 20V. The merchandise which these people take to India comes 

from Venice in Italy. It comes to Alexandria, and from the 
trade in Alexandria warehouses it comes by river to the factors in Cairo, 
India. and from Cairo it comes in caravans with many armed people. 

It comes to Tor, but this is not often, because on account of the 
nomad robbers they need many armed people to guard the 
merchandise. But at the time of the Jubilee {JubileuY, which is 

* Cimtura or cintura — Besides meaning waist, cintura, scintura or escintura 
(from the Portuguese verb cindir, scindir or escindir, in Latin scindere) 
formerly also signified a cut or a slash. Thus in this case it may mean 

2 This is certainly not the jubilee-year at the beginning of which the 
liberation of all Israelitish slaves and the restoration of ancestral possessions 
took place. Pires means perhaps the Islamic Haggi, or great pilgrimage to 
Mecca which is fixed for certain days in the first half of the month Dulheggia. 
But as the Hejira has not a corresponding fixed date in the Gregorian calendar, 
for it depends on the lunar months beginning with the approximate new 
moon, the Haggi runs in time through the whole year. 1481 was the nearest 



held every year in Mecca on the first day of February, when 
many people come, [the merchandise] is sent to Mecca with 
them. And from there it comes to Jidda and from Jidda it comes 
to the warehouses they have in Aden and from Aden it is distri- 
buted to Cambay, Goa, Malabar, Bengal, Pegu and Siam. 

They take different kinds of coloured woollen cloths, hats, Merchan- 
glass of all kinds and colours, azernefe^^ vermilion, quicksilver, 
copper, steel, arms, silver, gold coinage, opium, mastic, all sorts 
of glass beads, liquid storax^, rosewater, camlet {chamalotes) of 
many colours, both fine and other kinds, many fine and costly 
tapestries and carpets of good workmanship, both large and 
small, many mirrors. 

Arabia Felix lies between (?) the Red Sea and Abyssinia. Arabia 
Some say that it reaches Mogadishu (Magadoxoo) and goes as Felix. 
far as the Dahlak islands, and they say that it is all a land of white 
people where there is none of the woolly hair which is proper to 
this Arabia. Others say that it only goes as far as Cape Guarda- 
fui; it is called Felix because it is not so barren as the [other] two, 
if it extends as far as Mogadishu; its ports are already known, if 

year in which the beginning of the Hejira fell on the 1st February; in 1513 it 
fell on the 7th February, and in 1514 on the 28th January. It may be 
that the pronunciation of the word Dulheggia sounded to Fires like Jubileu 

* All this portion is missing in the Lisbon MS. The word azernefe is 
repeated further on under the heading ‘Merchandise from Malacca for 
Siam’, but it was left out in the Lisbon MS, as if the transcriber did not 
understand or did not know the word. Ramusio translated it in both places as 
orpimeto, which means orpiment, yellow arsenic or trisulphide of arsenic. The 
word azernefe is not found in Portuguese dictionaries, but in a letter to Afonso 
de Albuquerque, written from Malacca in 1510 by Portuguese captives, azer- 
nefe is mentioned as one of the commodities which it would be profitable to 
bring there. Cartas, III, 12. Watt says that orpiment is a product of India and 
that it has also always been imported from Burma and China, which agrees 
with Pires’ statement. It seems as though the word azernefe (perhaps a simple 
corruption of the word arsenico), meaning orpiment, had vanished from the 
Portuguese language, as did the word fruseldra, also used by Pires, as will 
be seen later, note pp. 96-7. 

^ Liquid Storax, taken by the Arabs to India, is the fragrant balsam yielded 
by Liquidambar orientalis Mill., of Asia Minor. It is a different product from 
the ‘true storax’, styrax benzoin or gum benjamin of commerce, yielded by 
the benzoin tree, Styrax benzoin Dryand., of the Malay Peninsula and 
Archipelago. In the letter of 1516 (Appendix I) Pires refers at length to 
liquid storax, which, in his opinion, did not exist. 





it extends from the cape to Dahlak; then before you sail through 
the mouth of the strait it has Zeila and Berbera, and when you 
are in the straits it has Dahlak and El Qoseir {Lafari). From this 
El Qoseir, which is a port with few inhabitants, they can get to 
the Nile in three days and in ten you can embark at Cairo; but 
this not often, as the nomads waylay travellers on this road. 

The people of this Arabia are clean and noble. They have 
fortresses and horsemen. They are at war with Abyssinia, which 
borders on this Arabia, and they make raids on horseback, in the 
course of which they capture large numbers of Abyssinians 
whom they sell to the people of Asia. This land has wheat and 
good water. People come to trade in these ports from many 
places, from Cambay, from the whole of Arabia, but chiefly 
from the city of Aden. They bring coarse cloths of many kinds, 
glass beads, and other beads from Cambay; from Aden they 
bring raisins, from Ormuz dates, and they take back gold, ivory 
and slaves and trade with them in the said ports of Zeila and 
Berbera. They trade with other places too. Goods are brought 
from Kilwa, Malindi, Brava, Mogadishu and Mombassa in ex- 
change for the good horses in this Arabia. They have no cities and 
no king. They live in bands {cahilasy. They are a plundering 
people and very wild. These two ports are an outlet for the whole 
of Abyssinia, because very little goes to Cairo. 

Arabia Petrea is divided from Persia by the Strait of Ormuz, 
and from the river that goes to Mecca^ it is divided from Arabia 
Deserta by the port of Jidda and along the land it is a populous 
region and forms part of Palestine^. It was called Arabia Petrea 
because it is bare, sterile and mountainous, all stony and having 
little water. This province has some cities along the sea coast. 
It has Jidda, Aden, Fartak {Fartaque), the Masirah or Mosera 
{a Maseira) of the cape of Ras el Hadd (Roscallhate), and farther 

• Cabildas in the Lisbon MS. Both forms come from the Arabic ^bd’il, 
plur. kabila, ‘tribe’, which some Arab writers use as a synonym of Berbers 
and which were formerly used by the Portuguese to designate Moorish tribes 
in North Africa. Then they were by extension applied in the East to any band 
of Moors, either belonging to one or more families or simply living together. 

2 Wadi Fatima. 

3 Pires mixes up Arabia Petrea with Arabia Deserta. These names are 
properly placed on the large map in the pocket at the end of this volume. 



up along the shores of the Strait of Ormuz it has Kalhat {Cala- 
hate)y Muscat {Mascate), Quryat {Curiate) and other places. 

Going inland over the mountains, it has good cities with many 
inhabitants and beautiful land with many people living in it. Of 
all these cities and places | Aden is the noblest, and a very strong Fol. i2ir. 
place. The inland cities are called Zabid {Zebit), Taizz {Taees), 

Beit el Fakih {Beitall Faquj), Camaran^, Sana {Cana), QinanF. 

The people of this Arabia are warlike. They fight on horseback 
in the same way as we do, with spurs, and holding the reins in 
one hand and a lance in the other, and they have a great number 
of men. The horses in this Arabia are better than all the others 
in any of these parts. They have a large number of camels and 
oxen which they use, and other animals. They are hunters, very 
hard-working men, haughty and presumptuous. This province 
has a king who is obeyed by all and who is said to be a vassal 
of the Sultan [of Egypt]. This [king] is always inland as there 
is always war in his country, because many [of his people] are 
nomads and the land is rocky, and they will not live in peace and 
they have no alternative but to steal. 

And because Aden is the only populous town in this Arabia, 
and is the key not only of Arabia but of all the strait, both for 
those entering and for those leaving, I would say that the rest is 
all subordinated either to Aden or to Ormuz, and some live 
independently. Jidda and Mecca and the hinterland aic under 
the Sultan’s rule. Aden is the key to the seaports, not to mention 
the mountains on the mainland (?). 

Aden lies at the foot of a mountain, almost flat on the plain, a \.^deri\ 
little town, but very strong, both in walls, towers and ramparts, 
as well as in all the paraphernalia of gun towers, loopholes, much 
ordnance and many warriors — for there are always many people 
of the country paid to fight, apart from the fact that at any alarm 
a large number [of the people] from inland rush to help. Inside 
the city there is a beautiful fortress, with a captain in it always 
prepared as he should be, because for the last ten years they 

* This Camaram cannot be the Island of Kamaran, because Fires is refer- 
ring to ‘inland cities’. It may have been miscopied, and may stand for the two 
places Khramr and Amram, north of Sana, or for the city of Al-Makrana, 
which Varthema called Almacarana. 

2 Qinam may correspond to Jizam, which Varthema called Gezan. 







have always been afraid of our armadas, and all the Moors help 
this city so that it shall not be taken. They fear that if it were 
taken the end would soon come, because it is all they have left. 
And this city has already had a great battle, and would have been 
stormed if the ladders had not disastrously broken with the 
weight of the people scaling the walls ^ And the battle was a 
famous thing because [to capture] such towns the camp has to 
be taken first, and this town was all but lost by the Moors. This 
was a famous exploit, although the city was not taken; and it was 
not very happy afterwards, and its Kashises^ feel that its destruc- 
tion will soon come. 

This town has a great trade with the people of Cairo as well as 
with those of all India, and the people of India trade with it. 
There are many important merchants in the city with great 
riches, and many from other countries live there also. This city 
is a meeting place for merchants. It is one of the four great trad- 
ing cities in the world, and it has dealings inside the straits with 
Jidda, to which it trades most of the spices and drugs in ex- 
change for the said (merchandise?). It trades cloth to Dahlak 
and receives seed pearls in exchange; it trades coarse cloths and 
various trifling things to Zeila and Berbera in exchange for gold, 
horses, slaves and ivory; it trades with Sokotra, sending cloth, 
straw of Mecca, Socotrine aloes, and dragon’s-blood; it trades 
with Ormuz, whence it brings horses; and out of the goods from 
Cairo it trades gold, foodstuffs, wheat, and rice if there is any, 
spices, seed pearls, musk, silk and any other drugs; it trades with 
Cambay, taking there the merchandise from Cairo and opium, 
and returning large quantities of cloth, with which it trades in 
Arabia and the Islands, and seeds, glass beads^ beads from 
Cambay, many carnelians of all colours, and chiefly spices and 
drugs from Malacca, cloves, nutmeg, mace, sandalwood, 
cubeb, seed pearls and things of that sort. 

* Assault of Afonso de Albuquerque on Aden, in March 1513. 

2 Caciz or Kashis among Arabs and Persians means a Christian priest. 
However, Pires, as well as other sixteenth-century Portuguese writers, used the 
word to designate any priest, especially a Muslim. 

3 Matamingos, or Matamugos as in the Lisbon MS. An ancient word meaning 
glass beads. The lexicographer Antdnio de Moraes e Silva records the two 
forms. Diccionario da Lingua Portuguesa, isted. 1789. 



Rodrigues’ map (fol. 27) of the North-east Coast of Africa, part 
of the Red Sea and of Arabia (p. 520) ’ ^ 



It takes a great quantity of madder and raisins to Cambay, and Fol. isiv. 
also to Ormuz; it trades with the kingdom of Goa, and takes 
there all sorts of merchandise and horses both from [Aden] 
itself and from Cairo, and receives in return rice, iron, sugar, 
beatilhas^ and quantities of gold; it trades with Malabar in India, 
where the main market was Calicut, whence it took pepper and 
ginger; and it traded merchandise from Malacca with Bengal in 
return for many kinds of white cloths, and it traded the merchan- 
dise from Malacca also with Pegu in exchange for lac, benzoin, 
musk and precious stones, rice also from Bengal, rice from Siam, 
and merchandise from China which comes through Ayuthia. 

And in this way it has become great, prosperous and rich, and 
the king receives all his revenues from Aden alone, for all the 
rest is nothing. There is no doubt that the madder alone brings 
the king 100,000 cruzados. 

The merchandise of Aden consists of horses, madder, rose- The mer- 
water, dried roses, raisins, opium, and, with the goods coming chandtse 
from Cairo, these make up a large amount ( ?). People come to the 
port of Aden from all the above-mentioned places, and they [the 
merchants of Aden] go everywhere. It is a thing worth seeing, 
famous and rich, although its drinking water has to be brought 
in a cart. All the merchandise is gathered there and they keep as 
much of it as is necessary for the town’s trade and for con- 
sumption there. The merchants there keep the spices by them, 
and send them to Cairo in this way: they go from Aden to 
Kamaran, from Kamaran to Dahlak, from Dahlak to the islands 
of Suakin, whence they can go all along the straits of this 
Suakin, to a port called El Qoseir on the Arabia Felix side, and 
from there it is three days’ journey to the Nile and ten days to 
Cairo; only they do not go this way because of the thieves, but 
after they have reached the Island of Suakin^ they go to Jidda, 
sailing by day, and many are lost because the straits are stormy 
on account of the land winds; and those who are going to Jidda 

* Beatilha is an old Portuguese word for fine muslin, or a sort of very thin 
cloth made of cotton or linen. 

2 Pires refers indiscriminately to ‘islands’ or ‘island’ of Suakin, perhaps 
according to the source of his information. Though the town of Suakin 
occupied the main island, ‘there lie in this bay three other islands’ as D. Joao 
de Castro had already written in his Roteiro do Mar Roxo, p. 99. 


H.C.S. I. 





unload, when they reach Jidda. At the time of the Jubilee, great 
caravans come to Mecca, and the merchants join them, since 
they satisfy the leaders. It is a seventy days’ journey to Cairo, 
and sometimes they go from Jidda to Tor by sea; but not often 
because it is not a main road to Cairo and they are always robbed. 
The king of Aden always lives in the City of Sana, which is 
inland, where he has seven or eight large cities with many in- 
habitants, and most of the Arabs there are Rafadish followers of 
the Law [of Mohammed], and the king dare not kill them for 
fear of the Sheikh Ismail, king of Persia and follower of Ali. 
There is much rosewater in this land of Sana, and dried roses, 
which are much prized in Abyssinia, and in this city there are 
finer carnelians than those from Cambay, and there are not so 
many of them. 

Travellers who want to go from Aden to Cairo go to Jidda, 
and from Jidda to Tor and from Tor to Suez, and they get to 
Cairo in three days — or rather in five days — if the horse goes 
well, for it is desert. 

I shall not talk about Tor or about Suez, because they are not 
ports nor towns. Suez has been talked of for the last three or 
four years, because they say that it is a place where an armada is 
being made. There are no houses there nor within a radius of 
twenty leagues of it. It is an exposed and solitary place, with 
bare ground and no grass. It is not possible to go from Suez to 
Tor except by day and in small light craft, as the water is all 
shallow and full of rocks. Tor has not more than twenty houses. 
These belong to Christians of the type I have described above. 
The inhabited places are very much in the midst of the nomad 
robbers. The road from Tor to Jidda is almost as wretched as the 
other. The whole of that land is accursed and there is no profit 
in it. Jidda is the port of Mecca, small and shallow. In the whole 
of the straits there is no other place but Jidda. It is on bare 
ground. They say now that it is being fortified as the people are 
afraid. It has a garrison. The way from Jidda to Aden is 
dangerous, but not so much so. 

' Rafadi, Rafazi or Rafizi means heretic. It is the name that the Moham- 
medan Sunnis (orthodox and traditionists) contemptuously give to the Shi’ites 
(separatists), a rival sect which considers Ali and his descendants as the 
legitimate successors to the Caliphate. 



After Aden comes Fartak, the islands of Kuria Muria and 
Masirah. The people here are all nomads, merchants and good 
warriors. Many go from Fartak to Sokotra, Zeila and Berbera as 
garrison captains. These people also live by trade, but it is not 
much. From Cape Ras el Hadd {Roshallhate) inland the land is 
under the dominion of Ormuz. The people of Fartak have beauti- 
ful swords and all other kind of arms. They are daring men. 

This land of Arabia Deserta in the straits of Mecca begins at 
Jidda and extends as far as Tor and goes to the Mediterranean Fol. i22r. 
Sea and divides the land of Egypt from Judea. Some affirm that Arabia 
Mecca is in this country and not in Arabia Petrea. There is Deserta. 
nothing to be said about this country. It has nomad robbers. It 
has no trees nor fruit, nor is there water except in a few places 
known to the nomads. They are robbers and have no other mode 
of life. They are beyond reason, malicious and go about in 
bands (cabilas) seizing whatever they can find. 


Next in order the civilized island of Ormuz is represented for 
us with all its kingdom and with the many islands in the straits 
there. This kingdom, besides being rich and noble, is the key to 
Persia. It borders on Arabia Petrea on the [word missingy side, 
where it has cities under its sway, and on the Cambay side [it is 
bounded by] the Nodhakis, and on the mainland [it is bounded 
by] the great Persian province. The islands of Bahrein belong to 
the kingdom of Ormuz, and also all those in the Strait of Ormuz, 
and also the Moorish king with the red cap, who is a follower of 
the sect of Ali, newly converted. The people of Ormuz are war- 
like and have good arms and horses; they are civilized and 
domestic men. This kingdom stretches from Cape Ras el Hadd 
inwards along the straits. It has many people with houses of 
good workmanship. 

The city of Ormuz is in an island which is almost joined on to 
Persia, about a league away. It has walls, houses with terraces, 
towers, and ramparts in it. It is very cool, and is one of the four 

‘ In this case, as in many others, the transcriber of the Lisbon MS simply 
omitted the obscure passage. 



[great cities] on this side of Asia, with all the elegance of beauti- 
ful white women. Its neighbours have no advantage over it in 
trade. If things to eat are in question neither the Flemings nor 
the French come up to its citizens; and it has fruits like ours in 
abundance. The city has people in it from many parts, big mer- 
chants. Only this island lacks water; the city contains many cis- 
terns and wells, but now the water that is constantly drunk comes 
in jars from the mainland in almadias, and is sometimes dear, 
according to the weather. If however the water from the main- 
land is not forthcoming, there is water in the city — neither very 
good nor for so many people. It has islands near it which also have 
beautiful water. This city was founded on account of the port. 

Ships from outside are constantly coming there with mer- 
chandise and Ormuz trades with them all. Wherefore the king of 
Ormuz is immensely rich from the Ormuz dues. Ormuz is 
ancient both in arms and in trade, and is held in esteem in these 
parts. Its trade is very necessary in these parts, and it is a very 
populous, rich and honoured city. 

The Between Arabia Petrea and the land of Persia there is an arm 

Straits of gf the sea with some beautiful towns on either shore, and this is 
■ called the Strait of Ormuz. It is not all navigable and for the 
most part any one who is in the middle can [only] see the land 
on one side and towards the end [he can see] both. It is navi- 
gable farther in. Four or five days’ sail with favourable wind 
from Ormuz there are many islands, the chief of which are called 
Bahrein, where there is the best pearl fishing in these parts, and 
these pearls are an important item in the trade of Ormuz, and 
they are plentiful, and they are generally whiter and rounder than 
those from anywhere else. 

The trade Ormuz trades with Aden and Cambay and with the kingdom 
of Ormuz. Deccan and Goa and with the ports of the kingdom of 

Narsinga and in Malabar. The chief things the Ormuz merchants 
takeWe Arabian and Persian horses, seed pearls, saltpetre, sulphur, 
silk, tutty, alum — which is called alexandrina in our part of the 
world — copperas, vitriol, quantities of salt, white silk, many 
tangas — which are silver coins worth about ( ?) sixty-five reis — ^ 

* ‘The Goa tanga was worth 6o reis, that of Ormus 62ft to 69ft reis’, 
which agrees with Pires. Hobson- Jobson, s.v. See note p. 142. 



and musk, sometimes amber, and a great deal of dried fruit, 
wheat, barley and foodstuffs of that kind. 

They bring back pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and all 
sorts of other spices and drugs, which are greatly in demand in 
the land of Persia and Arabia, and some of which go to Aden 
when there is a great deal; but as they are already costly at 
Ormuz I do not think much goes from there to Cairo for 
despatch to Italy. They also bring back as much rice as they can, 

[also] heatilhay white cloth, and iron, although their great idea is 
to bring back pepper, rice and gold with them. Horses are worth 
a high price in the kingdoms of Goa, of the Deccan and of 
Narsinga, | so the Ormuz [merchants] go to these kingdoms FoI. i22v. 
with them every year. A horse may be worth as much as seven 
hundred xerafins — coins worth 320 reis each^ — ^when it is good. 

The best are the Arabians, next are the Persians and third are 
those from Cambay. These latter are worth little, as we shall see 


Because Ormuz lies near Persia and because Persia is the 
mainland from which our account starts, it did not seem to me 
right to leave that country undescribed ; and if I give myself 
rein in speaking of Persia, it deserves it if only because it is 
opposed to Mohammed. 

The great province of Persia has only the kingdom of Ormuz 
on the ocean side. Its boundary on the Cambay side is formed by 
the Nodhakis; on the side of Arabia, by the Strait of Ormuz; 
inland by the mountain ranges of Delhi (Delj); and on the side of 
Armenia [it goes] nearly to Babylon; and through Media it comes 
to India^. This province is divided into more than forty king- 
doms and regions of this land, some of it inhabited and very 
good, and some of it is mountainous and uninhabited. In their 

I According to Nunes (Lyvro dos Pesos da Ymdia, p. 32), in 1554, the Xera- 
fin of Aden was worth 360 reis, that of Ormuz 300 reis. Each xerafin was 
worth five silver tangas. Further on, when dealing with the Malacca coinage. 
Fires refers to 'xarafins from Cambay and from Ormuz’, which were worth 
three cruzados (p. 275).. 

* Although it is written Ydamca in the Paris MS, it should read ‘India’, 
as in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio’s translation. 



language the whole of this province taken thus together is called 
Agenby and we in our language call it Persia. All the people of 
Agenb^ are called Parsees {parses), which we call persas or per- 
syanos — Persians. 

Provinces The best provinces or kingdoms of this Persia are four: 

^^IWsia {Corafoni), Guilan {Guilani), Tabriz {Taurini) and 

Shiraz {Xitagy)\ and in these four provinces there are four chief 
cities: Tabriz {Tauris), Shiraz {Xiras), Samarkand {Qamar- 
cante) and Khorasan. The people called Rumes^ are in the Khora- 
san region, and those of Guilan are Turkomans, warlike men 
and fighters who are highly esteemed in these parts, and who are 
said to be of Christian birth. The people of Tabriz and Shiraz 
are like [those of] Paris in France; they are domestic, handsome 
men and courtiers, but above all the women of Shiraz are 
praised for their beauty, their fairness of skin, their discretion 
and the neatness of their dress; so that the Moors say that 
Mohammed would never go to the province of Shiraz lest he 
should like it so much that he would never go to Paradise when 
he died. To these four is also added the province of Media, 
which they call Mjdonj^ here, which also has a principal city 

* Agent corresponds to Al-’Adjam, an Arabic expression, referring to the 
whole of the people of Persia. Agent appears as agem in the Lisbon MS, and 
as Azemini in Ramusio. 

^ Barros (iv, iv, i6) writes that ‘the Moors of India, not understanding the 
divisions of the Provinces of Europe, called the whole of Thrace, Greece, 
Sclavonia, and the adjacent islands of the Mediterranean, Rum, and the men 
thereof Rumi, a name which properly belonged to that part of Thrace in 
which lies Constantinople; from the name of New Rome belonging to the 
latter, Thrace took that of Romania. And thus Rumes and Turks were different 
nations; because the latter had their origin in the Province of Turkistan, and 
the Rumes in Greece and Thrace, in view of which they considered them- 
selves more important than the Turks’. After the seizure of Constantinople 
the term Rum was applied by the Arabs and other peoples of the East mostly 
to the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. This was the position when the 
Portuguese arrived in India, as described by Tom6 Pires and later by Orta, 
Barros and Couto, though not very clearly. Orta goes so far as to say that 
only the Turks of Constantinople were called Rumes, and not those of 
Anatolia, though this was the home of the Rum empire. Even today the 
Greeks living in Ottoman territory are still called Rumi. The various uses of 
the term throughout the centuries made it rather indefinite and have led to a 
considerable amount of confusion which, even in recent times, has not been 
explained satisfactorily enough. No wonder Pires is not very clear. 

3 The Lisbon MS has mudini. Omitted in Ramusio. 



called Shiishan (Ssusan), and which also belongs to Persia. Now 
in [the book of] Esther, about Ahasuerus and his wife Vashti, 
it tells clearly of this city^ All these provinces are ruled by 
the Sheikh Ismail, who is known there in the regions behind the 
wind as the Equaliser (Jguoalador) or Sophy. And as we said in the 
description of Ormuz that the king has the red cap which is the 
sign of this Sheikh, it is fitting that we should say where he and 
his law had their beginning. And the whole of Europe is known 
here as the people behind the wind. The Persians are horsemen, 
with arms of every kind beautifully adorned, and with swords 
of good workmanship. They are men of our colour, form and 
feature. There is no doubt that those who wear the red cap are 
more like the Portuguese than like people from anywhere else. 

The caps are high with twelve pleats and narrowing from the 
head to the top, and with a coif coming round. The Sheikh 
Ismail spends most of his time in Tabriz, which is fifty days’ 
journey on camels from Ormuz. The land of Persia has all kinds 
of domestic animals, such as we have in our own country; and 
the land of Persia has many ounces, lions, and tigers. 

The Persians are very fond of pleasure, very orderly in their 
dress, and use many perfumes. They anoint themselves with 
aloes and with costly scented unguents. They have many wives. 

They are served by eunuchs, and the eunuchs who have charge 
of the women rise to be great lords. The Moors in general are all 
jealous men, and thus for all their good looks most of them are 
sodomites, including the Persians and the people of Ormuz. 

And they do not consider this to be unsuitable to their condi- 
tion, nor are they punished for it, and there are even public 
places where they practise this for money. And those who suffer 
this are beardless and go about dressed like women, and the 
Moors laugh at us when we point out to them the turpitude of 
this sin. 

This land of Persia is the most ancient and the most noble of FoL i23r. 
all Asia. It has always had monarchs [who are] great lords. This 
country has many famous provinces. It is they who obtained 
this Empire of Nabucodonosor and his son Cyrus and Darius 
and Ahasuerus and Xerxes and others. It was in this land that 

' In the Lisbon MS this passage was altered; Ramusio suppressed it. 

Origin of 
the sect of 



the great Alexander made his widespread conquests. It is not 
sterile and mountainous as some writers say, but abounding 
in all delights, with domestic men, full of courtesy, well dressed, 
magnanimous and valiant in feats of arms, with beautiful horses. 
They are hunters of wild beasts and of all sorts of birds. And the 
land of Shiraz is the choicest of Persia, a land abounding in 
wheat, wine, meat, fruits and — like our own country — not 
lacking in nuts, chestnuts and dried figs. 

In the time of Mohammed, a Moorish Arab, he [Mohammed] 
had Ali for a son-in-law, Ali who was his nephew and married 
to his daughter Fatima. There were four companions in 
Mohammed’s company; one was called Othman, another Abu 
Bakr, another Omar and another Hacahar^. These were helpers 
in the Koran. After Mohammed’s death Abu Bakr was elected 
captain because he was the oldest. Ali did not sufFer this 
willingly, and showed that the said choice should have fallen 
upon him as nephew and as son-in-law^. He refused to obey Abu 
Bakr, and when Abu Bakr died Othman became the chief, and 
thus all of them and then Ali. They say that all these four were 
Christians and they are all buried in Medina, a place in Arabia 
which is three days’ journey across the desert from Mecca. 

From these four who came after Mohammed, there come to 
be four kinds of Moors, called Shafi’i {xafij), Malike (malaqj), 
Hanafi (anafij), and Hanbali {hambarjy. Each one of them 

’ Sofi or Sophy was the name given for a long time by the Europeans to the 
Shah of Persia. This ‘Sofi’ was Safi-ud-Din (which means ‘Purity of 
Religion’) a great supporter of the mystical doctrine of Islam — Sufism, dating 
from the second century of the Hejira — the principle of which is that through 
meditation, ecstasy and rigorous observance of discipline, man can raise him- 
self almost to divinity and be identified with it. From the name of the 
doctrine the name Sufi, or Sophy, was given to this ancestor, and that of 
Safavi to the dynasty which began with Ismail in 1499 and lasted till 1736. 

^ In the Lisbon MS the four names are given as Tamao, Bulbacar, Hamaar, 
and Acamar. The whole of this chapter on the Sophy is omitted in Ramusio. 
The first four Caliphs who succeeded Mohammed were Abu Bakr, Omar, 
Othman, and Ali, who died respectively in 634, 644, 656 and 661, all of them 
disciples and companions of the Prophet. It seems as if this Hacabar or 
Acamar is some mistake of the transcriber. I cannot find any name which 
might properly suggest Hacabar. 

3 Ali was cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed, not nephew. 

* Xafij, malaqi, anafij and hambarj, appear as xafim, malaquj, anafy and 
ambari in the Lisbon MS. These four schools of law of the Sunnis date from 



departed from Mohammed’s own intentions at his death, and 
each wished to endow himself with a spirit of false prophecy, 
like Mohammed, whence there are still these four kinds of 
Moors in those parts today, far removed from one another in 
the manner of their beliefs. 

When it came to his turn to govern, Ali also began to make 
himself out a prophet, and greater than the others had been, and 
he wrote a book in which he said evil things about his father-in- 
law and the companions, thus affirming that he had a better 
spirit of prophecy than the others, and pointing out things to 
their discredits And he commanded that from thenceforward 
they should name Ali in their prayers and not Mohammed, say- 
ing that he had won much land at the point of his lance, that 
the twelve signs of the heavens were with him and that they had 
come together at his birth to make him a knight and a great 
prophet, and that he did not want any Moor to believe what his 
father-in-law had said about putting the sun in his sleeve, and 
[he also did] other things to undermine the authority of 
Mohammed, as the Moors know. And the immediate result of 
this were the followers of Ali, who are called Shi’ites {ZeidisY 
and Rafadis and are Moors who believe in Ali; and the Sheikh 
Ismail is a Rafadi. 

As Ali had been severe in his rule, after his death some of his 
followers went over to the beliefs of Mohammed and others still 
held those of Ali. The followers of Mohammed and others in- 
creased so greatly in numbers that they published a law to the 
effect that all followers of Ali must die, saying that he had not 
been a prophet nor a saint, but that he had been a good knight 

the ninth century. Islam is divided into three principal sects whose differ- 
ences are mainly about the office of the Caliph — Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kha- 
warij. The Sunnis, who hold that the Caliphate must be filled by election, 
and that the Caliph is not infallible, are the most numerous of the Muslims — 
at present about 150 millions out of a total of 235 millions. 

' Sentences of Ali, translated by W. Yule, Edinburgh 1832, contains col- 
lections of proverbs and verses which bear the name of Ali. 

^ Zeidis, appears as Zeylldes in the Lisbon MS. The Shi’ites, from Shi’a — 
‘the party of Ali’, are second in importance to the Sunnis. They hold that Ali 
and his descendants are the rightful Caliphs, and that the Caliphate is not an 
office of election but given by God, the Caliph being infallible. There are 
about twelve million Shi’ites today, mainly in Persia. 



Birth of 

Ismail or 

in his time; wherefore it has come about from that day to this 
that many Moorish followers of Ali have been executed as here- 
tics in the Moorish countries, so that the followers of Ali have 
been considered to be outside the law, and they do not go to 
Mecca, and yet however much they were punished for Ali, he 
always had many secret followers among the Moors until the 
time of this Sheikh Ismail. 

Sheikh Ismail is a Persian, native of the region of Shiraz, a 
nobleman by birth, and belonging to the great Shi’as, who are 
men who despise the world and live in solitude so that they may 
the Sophy, remain in poverty. The father of this Sheikh was one who was 
held by the Moors to be a good man, and he descended from the 
family of Ali, and had three sons. The Sheikh Ismail is the 
middle oneh and they are all still alive. Sheikh Ismail’s father 
used often to talk to the king of Shiraz and they were friends. 
They often conversed together, talking in such a way that the 
king of Shiraz became offended with the Sheikh and killed him. 
Some say that the Sheikh kept admonishing the king of Shiraz to 
learn about All’s teaching and to accept his opinion. Others say 
that they had a quarrel and that the king of Shiraz favoured 
Mohammed while the Sheikh was in favour of Ali, so that the 
Sheikh was killed there. And they say that the dead Sheikh had 
these sons by a Christian woman, an Armenian of good parent- 
age, and that he had converted her to the beliefs of Ali. And for 
five years after the death of his father, the Sheikh Ismail stayed 
with his mother and with one of his uncles, an Armenian 

Fol. I23V. When the father died, there is no doubt that the son stayed 
in his mother’s house from the time he was ten years old, which 
was when they killed his father, until he was fifteen. When he 
was a boy of fifteen he lived in the company of his Christian 
relations, with whom he stayed for six years. The Christians fed 
him and taught him, and he took from them what seemed to him 
good, and he was always obedient to them, so that he grew up 
in goodness and discretion; and on the advice of his Christian 
relatives he sent a letter to the king of Shiraz asking the king to 

> Ismail was the youngest of the three brothers, not the middle one, as 
asserted by Fires. 



give him food as he had killed his father. He was answered with 
a staff and a rosary, by way of mockery, that these were his 
because he was a Sheikh [but] a poor man. The indignant boy, 
instructed in our faith by his relatives, went to a king near 
Shiraz and asked for help against him, since the king was his 
enemy, and for the loan of some money, with the help of which 
— added to some which his relatives gave him — he sought to kill 
the king of Shiraz. He received help, and by his own industry 
got together two thousand men and raided the land. After having 
robbed it he decided one Friday, against the will of those he had 
with him, to enter the city by day. He entered and they say that 
he killed sixty thousand men and had the city in his hands and 
pillaged it^ and that he raised his forces to the strength of thirty 
thousand warriors, with whom he waged war for seven or eight 
years, so that he has the whole province of Persia with all its 
kingdoms on his side. Of the two thousand men collected to- 
gether by the Sheikh Ismail three hundred were horsemen, two 
hundred of these being Armenian Christians related to his 
mother and the remaining hundred being relatives of his 
father. The men on foot belonged to the latter. The money he 
had was for maintenance, and he had no more people [than 
this] at the beginning of his undertaking, and now his people 
are beyond numbers. When he entered the city of Shiraz 
he had eight thousand fighting men, including six thousand 

All these things he does by the advice of these Christians. 
They say that he never destroys any Christian dwelling nor kills 
any Christian. They say that he must have with him ten thou- 
sand men — Armenian Christians, and some of other nations, 
with whom he carries out the great enterprises, and all the kings 
yield themselves to him and obey him. He reforms our churches, 
destroys the houses of all Moors who follow Mohammed and 
never spares the life of any Jew. He makes war on the Sultan 
wherever he finds him, and on the people of Turkey. He is 
growing in power. He sends the red cap to the kings. If 

' ‘Ismail attacked Tabriz, which surrendered, and was proclaimed Shah.’ 
Sykes, A History of Persia, ii, 159. Pires is not very clear; it looks as if he 
sometimes mistakes Shiraz for Tabriz. 


they take it they are friends and if not they become mortal 
enemies ^ 

This Sheikh must be a man of from thirty to thirty-two years 
old. He lives most of the time in Tabriz. He is small of body, 
with powerful limbs, and wears the cap^ himself. In older times 
the Moors belonging to this sect used not to wear the cap; but 
this Sheikh commands that it be worn. Some say that the twelve 
folds secretly represent the twelve apostles^; but the most cer- 
tain thing he often publishes [is] that he praises Ali as the great- 
est prophet of all, that the heavenly signs served him, and for this 
reason he wears the twelve folds [in his cap], which has to be red 
as a sign that whoever will not accept it will have to have a red 
cap made with his own blood. They say that he is a gracious, 
liberal man, and he orders the death of every Mohammedan 
who is known to drink wine, but allows it those who wear the 
red cap, so that there is now no man in all Persia who does not 
belong to his sect. The citizens of note wear the cap, and if the 
poor people have not the wherewithal to buy they do not wear 
it; however, they are all followers of Ali. They say that he is 
noble in his person. He already has sons. He has many wives. In 
the lands of the Moors, that is, in that of the Sultan [of Egypt] 
and in that of the king of Aden, many people are joining this 
sect, and they do not dare to kill them, and every day many 
Mohammedans are coming over to Ali’s side. Many of the 
Syrian Arabs have already been converted to the sect of Ali, 
which the Moors consider a bad sign. The Sheikh is a circum- 

* When Pires wrote this, the great defeat inflicted by Selim the Terrible, 
Sultan of Turkey, in 1514, upon the Sheikh Ismail, from which he escaped 
with difficulty, after being badly wounded and nearly taken prisoner, had not 
yet occurred. 

2 Mestre Afonso, who came from India to Portugal through Persia, in 
1565—6, refers to this headgear as follows: ‘All the rest of the Moors . . . with 
the exception of the relatives of Mohammed who wear the hair in long plats 
under their turbans, wear hats, which are made of red cloth like large round 
caps, quilted with cotton-wool, and from the centre there rises a straight 
horn of the same cloth, which they call hat {carapufoo), two spans long and 
as thick as an arm, divided vertically in twelve folds, in memory and venera- 
tion of the twelve sons of Ali, whose sect they follow. ’ Ytinerario de Mestre 
Affonso, p. 192. 

3 These twelve Apostles were the twelve Imams, descended from Ali, 
origin of the important sect of the Shi’ites — the Twelvers. 



cized Moor and a follower of All, although many Moors say 
that he is a Christian. He sends learned Moorish subjects of 
his to the kings to argue for the sect of Ali against Mohammed’s 
doctrine. And the ambassadors sent by this Sheikh are attended 
by many mounted men, well dressed people of good appearance, 
very sumptuous, with vessels of gold and silver, which show 
forth the greatness of the Sheikh. To all the Moorish kings he 
sends gifts and presents, and learned men so that they may 
follow his law. He says that he will not rest until he sees all the 
Moors made followers of Ali in his time, and after that will come 
that which he knows ought to come. The Moorish people are 
for this new Sheikh and are so much the more angry at Your 
Highness’ powers 

There are a large number of merchants in this land of Persia, Fol. i24r. 
and the land in itself does a great deal of trade covering the 
country from Cairo^ as far as the land of the Armenians, where 
there are many rich and noble provinces. And a great deal of 
trade comes to Persia from Turkey through Syria. The land of 
Shiraz {Xiridf and [other lands in this country] have a great 
deal of silk from which rich cloths are made, and many 
kinds of camlet in fine colours and very good. They have 
great quantities of tutty, a great deal of alum, copperas and 
antimony, which the Moors use. They have many horses and 
many foodstuffs. They have many turquoises which are found 
in the land of Shiraz {Xiras). They have much wax, honey, 
butter. All these things are natural products of the country. 

From the Delhi side beyond the mountain range there seem to 
come by way of Siam, from kingdom to kingdom, musk, rhu- 
barb, agallochum or apothecary’s lignaloes, camphor. All these 
things and many others come to Ormuz: great carpets and 
tapestries, woollen cloth of many kinds and colours, hats and 

' In the Lisbon MS this paragraph ends quite differently: ‘And afterwards 
he says that that will happen which he knows [will happen], and they think 
that it will be his becoming a Christian, as they say he is in secret. ’ 

2 In the Paris MS it is distinctly written cauo, which may mean ‘cape’ or 
‘end’; but in the Lisbon MS we read cayro, and Cairo in Ramusio, though in 
the latter the arrangement of the paragraph was slightly altered. 

s In the Lisbon MS Xiria has been mistranscribed as Ri(f {Riqueza, 



caps such as they wear, much beautifully ornamented armour. 
They return a large quantity of spices and drugs, chiefly pepper 
— for they are still greater eaters of soups {potagees) than the 
Germans— in which they trade greatly, distributing it among 
their countrymen. They buy seed-pearls, rice, white cloth, 
beatilha, benzoin and things of that sort. 

This land of Persia with all its regions lies between two rivers, 
the Tigris and the Euphrates, and some people affirm that these 
two rivers do not run into the ocean, but that they end in Persia 
and that they go into the Persian Gulf into a large navigable sea 
or salt-water lake which there is in Persia and which is entirely 
surrounded by land, with beautiful dwelling-places, in the pro- 
vince of Guilan, and that boats sail [there] and that it is about 
twenty leagues across, that there are storms there and much fish 
which is salted and sent wherever it can go in Persia, and some 
is dried. Others say that this sea is larger, but I verified my in- 
formation with many people who told me that this is the 
measure, which seems to me to be large. This is far from Ormuz 
— more than two months’ journey on camels. Others say that 
the Tigris flows through Syria and comes to an end almost in 
the sea in the Strait of Ormuz, a matter of twelve leagues, and 
that it has already become small because it divides into branches. 
It flows rapidly, it is narrow and not navigable; in some places it 
can be crossed on foot, and in others with rafts or boats as you 
will. An arrow is called in Parsi tir, and on account of the swift- 
ness of the river it is called Tigrish 

The Euphrates rises in Armenia and they say that it flows into 
the ocean and that it divides the Nodhakis from the Rajputs; 
and the people of Cambay call this river Frataa, and [they say] 
that it comes from the farthest confines of Persia, and little use 
is made of the land through which this [river] flows. It is a large 
river and does not flow so swiftly as the Tigris and it is navigable 
inland with light boats, sailed by the people of these parts 
through which it flows. Leaving Persia and going towards India 
by sea we come to the land of the Nodhakis. 

* On the Persian word tir, ‘an arrow’, and its connexion with the name of 
the river Tigris, see Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Tiger, note. 



The Nodhakis {Naitaquesy have the Persians as neighbours 
on the one side and the Rajputs on the Cambay side, and inland 
they have the mountainous land of the province of Delhi, and 
on the other they have the sea. These Nodhakis are heathens; 
there are no Moors among them. It is a large country with many 
inhabitants who are spread over the country inland. They have 
no king and live in bands {cahilas). None of these ever recog- 
nized the name of Mohammed. They have a language of their 
own. They have no cities. They have villages in the mountain 
ranges, and this river^ makes them very powerful, because it 
waters the whole of the plain. The land itself produces a great 
many foodstuffs: wheat, barley and fruits. Most of them are 
pirates and go in light boats. They are archers, and as many as 
two hundred put to sea and rob, when they have an oppor- 
tunity, and sometimes they get as far as Ormuz and enter the 
Straits in their marauding, and that is what they live on. These 
men carry bows, swords and lances, and they are not very 
domestic. Often they come and anchor at the mouth of this 
river on account of the weather, and it is a road with shallows and 
rocks. Sometimes the Nodhakis seize any ship that goes there, 
and at other times they go to the kingdom of Cambay to the 
ports there, and if they find anything they steal where they can. 

They fear no one, nor have they any rivers in their lands where 
they can take refuge, and there are many in these parts. They 
are known to be men of this kind. 

Those who sow and work in the land have many horses and 124V. 
many mares on which they go about like the nomads, and steal 
whatever they can find. These people live in peace and friend- 

* Noutaques in the Lisbon MS; Motages in Ramusio’s translation. Barbosa 
does not refer to this people, but Danaes says in a note on the Sheikh Ismail that 
the Nautaques referred to by several sixteenth-century writers, are the Nodhaki 
tribe of Baloches, in which he agrees with Barros. This region corresponds 
approximately to a part of the Persian province of Kamir and to Baluchistan. 

2 Pires does not say which river this is, but he must refer to the Rio dos 
Noutaques which appears in several Portuguese sixteenth-century maps. It is 
possible that this river corresponds better to the present Dasht River, as 
seems more clearly indicated by R dos noutaces on L. Homem’s map of 1554. 



ship with the Rajputs, and they do not forgive the Moors any- 
thing, and [they forgive] any other people. The Nodhakis have 
great affinity with the Rajputs, and although they have lived for 
so long in lands surrounded by Moors, they could never have 
been subjugated. They are bold highwaymen. The land of the 
Nodhakis is more extensive and more populated than that of the 
Rajputs, but the Rajputs are a better people as I shall explain 
later in the proper place. 


The Rajputs {ResputesY have the Nodhakis for neighbours on 
the Persian side, and on the Cambay side their land is bounded 
by Cambay itself. Inland there is the land of Delhi and on the 
other side is the ocean. These Rajputs are heathens with no 
Moors among them. They have no king; they have an overlord 
whom they obey. Their land has powerful fortresses and strong- 
holds. They are brave men and riders. They have many horses, 
and most of them have mares, on which they fight. Their land 
is rich and very good. Its foodstuffs are many and it is cultivated 
and vigorous in itself. And there is not much land because it has 
been taken from them. These people are better fighters than 
their neighbours and they are constantly at war with the king of 
Cambay. They often harm him and put him to confusion be- 
cause they are cunning and learned and with small forces they 
are able not only to hold their own but also constantly to harry 
the people of Cambay. They are not powerful enough to be able 
to fight against Cambay in the field in squadrons, but their idea 
is to make sudden attacks on horseback. They seize booty and 
capture one another. These Rajputs are skilful in war, vigorous 
and great archers. 

They also have an outlet to the sea, where they keep rowing 
boats and seize booty wherever they can find it, like the Nod- 
hakis; but all their power is on land. Some people affirm it was 
some of these Rajputs and Nodhakis who had access to the 
Amazons whose country inland is bounded by theirs and by 

* Risbutos in the Lisbon MS; Rebutes in Ramusio’s translation. 



Cambay, as I shall explain in my description of Cambay^. On 
the Delhi side their country stretches inland in great ranges of 
mountains. This region has already had a king, but a while ago 
they killed him and no other was made afterwards. This king- 
dom has the beautiful cities of Herat (Ara), Crodi, Vamistra and 
Argengij^. The chief captain of all this kingdom is called Pimpall 
Varaa^, and one of his sisters who is called Bibi Kane‘S is married 
to the king of Cambay, to whom her father gave her in the inter- 
est [of the state] before he died, and they say she is beautiful. 

[cam bay] 


The noble kingdom of Cambay is bordered on one side in the Fol. i25t. 
direction of Persia by the region of the Rajputs, and on the side 
of the Second India by the great kingdom of the Deccan {Da~ 
quern), and inland by the kingdom of Delhi and on the [word Cambay, 
missing, other?] side by the ocean®. This kingdom separates 
from that of the Deccan between Mahim (Maymi) and Chaul. 

The kingdom itself is large, abundant in all kinds of wheat, 
barley, millet, vegetables, fruits, and having many horses, ele- 
phants, game-birds and many others in cages, of different kinds 
and highly prized. The land is thickly populated and has beauti- 
ful cities both on the coast and inland, as well as large villages. 

It has horsemen and much artillery and every warlike device. 

* In the Lisbon MS this sentence reads: ‘Some assert that these Rjsbutos 
were those who had relations with the Amazons who on one part of the 
hinterland border on Cambay.’ 

2 Aka is Herat, the city in western Afghanistan. It appears also as Hara, 
Harah, Eri, Heri or Heriunitis in old reports of Asiatic travels. Cf. Cathay and 
the Way Thither, i, 190, 293; in, 22. 

Crodi — Crode in the Lisbon MS, Crodi in Ramusio. Perhaps Kotri, a 
town in the District of Karachi. 

Vamistra — Vamiste in the Lisbon MS, Vamista in Ramusio. Vaman- 
sthali, ancient city and capital, near Girnar and modern Bilkha, in Kathiawar, 
Bombay? Imp. Gaz. of India, s.v. Girnar. 

Argengij — Argemgij in the Lisbon MS, Argengo in Ramusio. The city of 
Arguda, of Ptolemy’s Geography, or Argandi, south-west of Kabul? Cunning- 
ham, The Ancient Geography of India, p. 38. 

3 Vara only in the Lisbon MS and Ramusio. 

* Bibi means lady in Persian, and Rane or Rani is either the consort of a 
Hindu rajah, or rana, a queen. It appears as Biberade in the Lisbon MS 
and in Ramusio. 

® According to the Lisbon MS. 

f . H.C.S. I. 


Cities on 
the coast 


also many caparisoned horses, much armour of great beauty, 
both plate-armour and coat-of-mail, lances with beautiful heads, 
long swords, daggers — all beautifully ornamented. All is great. 
The people have many men at arms' and warriors. From out- 
side they have Mafaris, Arabs, Turkomans, Rumes, Persians, 
that is from Guilan and from Khorasan, and Abyssinians, all 
untainted races, with whose assistance they are constantly 
fighting with the neighbouring kingdoms with whom they are 
at war. Among these nations there are many who are renegade 

The principal cities on the coast are Surat {^urrate), Rander 
{Rand), Diu. Cambay has other ports with many inhabitants: 
they are Mahim {Maymj), Daman (Damana), Patan, Gogha 
{Guoguay, Diu. Gogha and Mahim are governed by Melequiaz^, 
a Persian Moor of the Guilan race. Daman, Surat and Rander 
are under the jurisdiction of Dasturcan^, a Moorish lord born in 
Cambay. Patan is governed by the son of the king of Cambay, 

* Although it is written Dalmas (of souls) in the MS, it should be 'de artnas' 
(at arms), as in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 

^ Ranei — Reneri further on, Rjnell in the Lisbon MS, and Reiner and 
Reinari in Ramusio. It is found as Reynel, Reinel or Reiner in Barbosa and the 
Portuguese chroniclers. Ribeiro’s maps of 1527 and 1529 show Reinel, as in 
Barbosa. This is explained by the fact that Ribeiro and Centurione when in 
Seville, where the maps were drawn, translated into Italian the Limo de 
Duarte Barbosa. It corresponds to the modern Rander, on the other side of 
the Tapti River, almost opposite Surat. 

Maymj, Maymi or May — This appears as Mejmym or Majm in the Lisbon 
MS. It corresponds to Mahim or Kelve Mahim, at the present day a small 
port about half-way between Dahanu and Agashi. This must not be confused 
with the Maimbij which corresponds to the Mahim or Mahikavati on Bombay 
island. See note on p. 39. 

Patan — Patdo in the Lisbon MS, Patam in Ramusio. It appears as Patan, 
Patane and Pate in many sixteenth-century Portuguese maps and chronicles. 
It must correspond to the modern Veraval. 

Guogua or Guogarj, appears as Goga and Gogary in the Lisbon MS, and as 
Goga and Gogari in Ramusio. It is recorded as Porto de goga in Rodrigues’ 
map of the western part of India. It is Gogha, a port in the District of 
Ahmadabad on the west coast of the Gulf of Cambay. 

3 All the Portuguese chroniclers, including Albuquerque in his Cartas, and 
other sixteenth-century writers, refer at length to Melique Az, or Malik’Aiyaz, 
and his relations with the Portuguese. Melique, from the Arab Malik, king, 
meant also prince, governor and chief in the East. 

* Dastur Elhan. 



who is called Sultan Xaquendar^, The city of Cambay is made 
the jurisdiction of Sey Debiaa, a person of importance in the 
country, a noble Moor of repute among them. The principal 
inland cities are Champaner {Champanell) and Ahmadabad 
(Medadaue), Baroda (Varodrra) and Bharoch {Baruezy. These 
cities have Grand Viziers or Captains, men by whom the whole 
kingdom is governed. This Melique Az was a foot soldier, an 
archer, and was given governorship on the Diu side, because it 
was the least important part of Cambay 3 and almost all wild 
jungle before our discovery of India; and because the ports of 
the Deccan were always kept under restraint, Diu became great 
through our friendship, and now it is an important place where 
there is more respect for justice than an)nvhere else in the king- 
dom. There are three hundred horses in its stables, which are 
kept up out of the revenues of the land. 

From Diu to Champaner is eight days’ journey; from Cambay Distance 
to Champaner is two days’ journey; from Surat and Rander to 
Champaner is five days, all over land. towns to 

The best city of the interior is Champaner. It is not large, but Gham- 
it is civilized and well built; and the city with the most trade is 
that of Cambay. It is on the gulf [and this] is full of shallows, Ghief 
between one and four fathoms deep. This town has the best 
merchandise, and almost all its trade is in the hands of heathens. 

The other towns have good ports with fortresses in them. The 
kingdom of Cambay does not extend far inland. 

* Sikandar Khan, the eldest son of Muzaffar II, who did not become sultan 
till 1535. 

^ Champaner — Champanell in the Lisbon MS, Campanel in Ramusio. 

‘The proper form of the name is Champaner.’ Dames, I, 123. A ruined city 
twenty-five miles north of Baroda, at the north-east foot of Pavagarh, a 
fortified hill of great strength. The Imp. Gaz. of India, s.v. 

Medadaue — Madadane in the Lisbon MS, Medadune in Ramusio, Andava 
in Barbosa. This is Ahmadabad. 

Varodrra — Barodria in the Lisbon MS, Zarodria in Ramusio, that is 

Baruez — The same in the Lisbon MS, Banues and Barmez in Ramusio. 

It corresponds to Bharoch or Broach, the most important port between 
Cambay and Surat. 

^ The transcriber of the Lisbon MS added some further information: ‘This 
is Meliquias, who died in the year 1522. He was an archer, and before that a 
captain [sic for captive], and many times sold. He was made governor of Dio 
because it was the least important port in Cambay.’ 



Coinage. The smallest coin in this country is a copper one thicker than 
the ceitil. They have silver coins called mastamudes., worth three 
vintens apiece. They also have another silver coin called rnada- 
forxasK Gold is also current in the same denomination and in 
bars by their standards and values. 

Fol. ijor. The king of Cambay is called Sultan Madaforxa^, and his 
Conc^n- father was called Sultan Mafamud^. This king is at war with the 
^kingdom Mandu {Mandao) and with the king of Indo and with 

of the Rajputs and to some extent with Delhi, and I will therefore 

Cambay, gpeak of these a little. 

This king of Delhi stays inland. His land was formerly the 
greatest in these parts. He had dominion over the Rajputs, 
Cambay and part of the kingdom of the Deccan, the king of 
Mandu and the king of Indo. This king’s land encompasses the 
whole province of Narsinga, and he is constantly at war with the 
Bengalees and with the kings of the hinterland whose lands 
border on Orissa, and with Orissa. He was a heathen. The 
kings of Delhi have been Mohammedans for a hundred and 
fifty years. They had captains in all these kingdoms. Each of 
them rose up and made himself king, as the one in Cambay did. 
High mountains^ intervene between Delhi and Cambay, so that 
the king of Delhi could not attack Cambay. There is only a 
small pass into the land, which is held by a Gujarat Jogee who 
does not allow the people of Delhi to enter Cambay; and when 
this king writes to the king of Cambay he calls him ‘my vizir’ 
or ‘captain’. This king of Delhi has a large and very moun- 
tainous country. The mountain ranges which pass through his 

‘ Ceitil — An old Portuguese coin worth only one-sixth of a real. 

Mastamudes — Pires’ mastamude corresponds to the old Persian silver coin 
mahmudi, called mamude by the Portuguese chroniclers and in the Lisbon 
MS, which had currency in Cambay and the Gujarat. 

ViNTEM — A Portuguese coin equal to 20 reis, or id. at par. 

Madaforxas — madrafaxaos in the Lisbon MS, an old silver or gold coin 
which had currency in Cambay and the Gujarat, called by the Portuguese 
chroniclers madrafaxos, madrafaxas, madrafaxaos or madrafaxoes. 

^ Mudhaffar or Muzaffar Shah II, called Soltdo Madrafaxa in the Lisbon 
MS and Soltam Moordafaa by Barbosa. 

3 Mahmud Shah I, called Soltdo Mafamede in the Lisbon MS and Soltam 
Mahamude by Barbosa. 

The Malwa Plateau, bounded on the south by the Vindhya Range and on 
the north-west by the Aravalli Range. 



country are the Caucasian mountains of which cosmographers 
tell us. His land has countless kinds of food, people, horses, 
elephants. There are innumerable heathen in his kingdoms. His 
country extends a long way inland. This king is called the King 
of the Indies, and he continuously lives inland. 

On the skirts of this mountain ranged, bordering on the land King of 
of Cambay, is the king of Mandu. This is the kingdom where 
the women whom we call Amazons used to fight in olden times, 

Now they no longer take part in warfare, but they still hunt on 
horseback with buskins and spurs after their guise. They say 
that this king still has about two thousand women who ride with 
him3. This king has many subjects, and his land is rocky and 
strong. Mandu also borders on the Rajput country. This king of 
Mandu is subject to the king of Delhi. This king has only been a 
Mohammedan for a short time. Kingdom 

The kingdom of Indo has already been converted to [the of Indo^ 
faith of] Cambay. They are already all Mohammedans. It is a 
small and mountainous country. They say that indigo comes 
from here and a small quantity of lac is also produced here; and 
a great deal of the Cambay merchandise comes from the Raj- 
puts, Mandu and Delhi, and [Cambay] distributes their goods 
for them, because the other provinces, that is Delhi, Mandu, 

Indo and others, are inland, while Cambay has a sea-coast. 

This kingdom of Indo used to be very famous. It is inland. 

And from this kingdom there runs a river which flows into the 

^Madou in the Lisbon MS, Mandou or Mando in the Portuguese chron- 
iclers, corresponds to Mandu or Mandogarh, now a ruined city in the Dhar 
State of Central India, ‘on the summit of a flat-topped hill in the Vindhyan 
range.’ Imp. Gaz. of India, s.v. 

^ Vindhya Range. 

5 In his letter of 26 Jan. 1516, Pires refers again to these Amazons of 
Mandu, ‘warlike women who now fight on horseback’. Appendix I. 

* The origin of the names Indus, India, Hindus and others of the same 
etymologic group is the Sanskrit Sindhu, ‘the sea’. In many Asiatic languages 
the word Sindh actually indicates the sea or an important river, whence the 
River Sindh. Pliny had referred to ‘the Indus, called by the inhabitants 
Sindus’. McCrindle, Ancient India as described by Megasthenes and Arrian, 
p. 143. The earlier Mohammedans distinguished Sind and Hind as different 
parts of the whole region which we call India, the latter name being applied to 
the country beyond the Indus. It seems that Pires’ Kingdom of Indo, which 
he says is a ‘small thing’, lay in the present Rajputana, somewhere between 
the Punjab and Cambay. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. India and Sind. 


Ports of 
up to the 


sea; it is called Qindy by some, others call it the Indy\ and the 
people of the kingdom are called Indios. This river divides the 
Rajputs from Cambay. This kingdom used to be at the head of 
Cambay. This is where India begins, and it is on account of this 
kingdom that the king of Cambay was called the king of the 
First India. It is a large river. There is a large town where it 
flows into the sea, with many ships and merchants both heathen 
and Mohammedan. The governor is an Indo heathen. 

Imdi, Kharepatan {Carapatani), Patan, Diu, Manar {Manna), 
Telaja {Tata telaya), Gandhar {Guendarj), Gogha {Guogari), 
Cambay, Bharoch {Baruez), Surat {Qurrate), Render {Reneri), 
Dahanu {Dionj), Agashi {Agagy), Bassein {Baxa), Mahim 

‘ In the Lisbon MS these names read as follows: ‘Imde/ barapatao / patao / 
dio/ manuaa/ tatelaya/ guadari/ gogary/ cambaia/ baruez/ Rejnell/ furrate/ 
diuny/ agazy/ baxaa/ maimby/’. 

Imdi — On P. Kernel’s maps of c. 1517 and c. 1518 — the closest in date to 
Pires’ writing — we read daulcinde near a river which seems to correspond to 
the modern Porali River, but it must be the westernmost mouth of the Indus. 
The map of c. 1 540 has diull and diu{J)(imde. This river of Reinel’s maps 
appears in later ones, of the middle sixteenth century, as R. dos guzarates and 
R. simde, some of them showing diul or diuli (L. Homem, 1554) on the right- 
hand bank, near the mouth. This is the Diul or Diulsinde of Barbosa and other 
early Portuguese writers and cartographers. Barros refers to ‘Diul situated 
on the first mouth of the Indus, on the side of the west’, i, ix, i. Diul is the 
Portuguese form for Dewal or Daibul, which according to Yule was ‘a once 
celebrated city and seaport of Sind, mentioned by all the Arabian geogra- 
phers, and believed to have stood at or near the site of modern Karachi'. 
Hobson- jfobson, s.v. Diul-Sind. Diul-Sind may also be the port Sonmiani, at 
the mouth of the Porali River, an important place before the rise of Karachi, 
through which much of the trade of Central Asia was carried via Kalat. Imp. 
Gaz. of India, s.v. Sonmiani. Although it is not easy to explain why Pires 
wrote Indi for ‘Diul-Sind’, it seems that he meant the latter, as there was no 
other important port before Kharepatan. 

Carapatani — Kharepatan. The Imp. Gaz. of India (ii, 33, 1908 ed.) refers 
to ‘Kharepatan plates bearing the record of the ^ilahara prince Rattaraja of 
A.D. 1008’. At the mouth of the Hab River there was a port called Kharak, 
with a considerable commerce. The entrance to Kharak harbour became 
blocked with sand, and its inhabitants migrated to a place called Kalachi 
Kun, on the other side of the river, near Karachi, a recent foundation. Cf. 
Imp. Gaz. of India, s.v. Karachi City. Pattan means ‘a port’ in Hindi, which 
combined with Kharak seems to have given Kharepatan or Pires’ Carapatani, 

Manna — Must be Manar, at the Manali River, between Telaja and Gogha. 

Tata telaya — Telaja. 

Guendarj — The old town of Gandhar, at the mouth of the Dhadar River, 
in the Gulf of Cambay, which appears as gandar or r. de gandar in several 



It is about three hundred years since the kingdom of Cambay Heathens 
was taken from the heathen; but there are still a great many of 
them in Cambay, almost the third part of the kingdom, mostly 
men whose faith forbids them to kill any living thing or to eat 
anything that has had blood in it. There are an infinite number 
of these. The heathen of Cambay are called Banians. Some 
among them are priests with beautiful temples. Most of them | 
are Brahmans and men given to religion; others are Pattars 
{Patamaresy, the more honoured Brahmans; others are mer- 
chants, as we shall see later. The heathen of Cambay are great 
idolaters and soft, weak people. Some of them are men who in 
their religion lead good lives, they are chaste, true men and very 
abstemious. They believe in Our Lady^ and in the Trinity, and 
there is no doubt that they were once Christians and that they 
gradually lost the faith because of the Mohammedans. These 
heathens have upright writing like ours. When they die their 
wives burn themselves [alive], if they are honoured women, or 

sixteenth-century Portuguese maps. It is the Guindarim of Barbosa. 

Dionj — This stands for modern Dahanu, which lies thirty-two miles south- 
south-west of Daman. Dinuy in Barbosa, Danu in the Portuguese chronicles 
and several maps. In Livro de Marinharia (p. 223), Danu is situated eight 
leagues from Daman. There is still an old Portuguese chapel in Dahanu. 

Agagy — Agacim or Agagaim in the Portuguese chronicles, stands for 
Agashi, which gives its name to the present Agashi Bay, twenty-eight miles 
from Dahanu, into which the Waitarna River empties. 

Baxa — Stands for the modern Bassein. Baxay in Barbosa, Bagaim and 
south-west Basaim in the Portuguese chronicles and maps. 

Maimbij — Majmby in the Lisbon MS; also called Mayambu or Mombaym 
by the Portuguese. This is Mahim or Mahikavati, the first town built on 
Bombay island, perhaps at the end of the thirteenth century. The name still 
survives in ‘Mahim Bay’, on the extreme north of the island. Castro refers to 
the ‘Island of Bombai or Mayam, which are the same’. Roteiro de Goa a Dio 
(1538-9), p. 81. 

’ Though Pires wrote patamares he means the Pattars, a class of Brahmans. 

Further on, when dealing with the Brahmans of Malabar, he spells the word 
as patadares (p. 68). Referring to the Pattars of Cambay, Pires says that 
‘these are the ones who carry the letters, if they come as couriers, because 
they are safe from thieves’ (p. 42). There is here, possibly, a curious con- 
fusion through an association of ideas. According to Dalgado (s.v.), Patadar 
or Patamar is a Luso-Indian word from the Konkani pattemar (a courier), 
meaning a foot runner, a courier, or a swift light boat. 

2 This belief that the Hindus were once Christians and worshipped Our 
Lady seems to have been current among the Portuguese in India at that time. 

Barbosa (I, 1 15) also mentions it. On the Trinity see note p. 66. 



if they prize their honour. There are still great lords among 
these heathens of Cambay, men who rule in the kingdom. Among 
them is a certain Brahman called Milagohim}, a person who is 
greatly esteemed for his qualities and richer than all the men in 
the East, and a man of great credit and renown. These heathen 
all have long hair. Some of them have long beards which they 
cannot shave; others have long hair. They belong to various 
sects and beliefs; they are subject to the Moors. 

King and Thg kingdom of Cambay must have seventy or eighty leagues 
Kingdom ^oast, and inland it is not large but noble, and rich and civi- 
Cambay. lized, with large, strong cities with good walls and towers. The 
Moorish lords live honourably. They have a great many horses — 
there is one lord in Cambay who has from five to six hundred 
horses and the rest are mares — large well-constructed houses 
and palaces. The king is not much obeyed, because of the 
foreigners. Most of the people of Cambay are poor and the great 
ones among them are rich. The king must be a man of about 
forty. He is called Sultan Madaforxa. They say and affirm that 
these kings are brought up on poison, because they are very 
tainted, so much so that if a fly touches them it dies; and that 
their women are brought up on the same food, and if they spit, 
it is poison; and that if anyone else puts on their clothes, they 
say he dies suddenly^. But I do not believe this, although they 
say it is so. This king is given to all manner of vice in eating 
and lechery. They say that otherwise he is judicious. Most of 
the time he is among his women, stupefied with opium. 

There are about thirty thousand horsemen in the kingdom of 
Cambay, and three hundred elephants, about a hundred of which 

* Also referred to later as mjlaguobim and mjligobim. When describing Surat, 
Barbosa (i, 149) says that ‘Hitherto a Heathen named Milocoxim held sway 
and governed here, whom the king of Cambay ordered to be slain on account 
of evil reports about him. This man was a great friend of the Portuguese’. 

^ Barbosa refers in great detail to Mudhaffar Shah being brought up on 
poison. Varthema mentions the same thing. It seems that the story was 
current at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Cf. Dames, I, 12 1-2. In 
Garcia de Resende’s Miscellanea, published for the first time in 1554, there 
is the following stanza about Sumatra: ‘There are kings who are accustomed,/ 
taught so from childhood,/ always to take poison/ in very small quantities/ 
until they are used to it. / And if they give it them in their food / it cannot do 
them any harm./ And if anyone drinks their wine, / or if a fly feeds on their 
spittle, / he dies without hope of life.’ (St. 91.) 



are fighting elephants. The best town on the coast from the 
point of view of buildings and of garrison is Diu; and the town 
in the interior with the most foreigners is Champaner, which is 
always the seat of the kings of Cambay. Champaner contains 
beautiful palaces, and many people of good breeding. The chief 
lords after the king are: Milagohim the heathen, then Chamalc 
Make, and then Asturmalec, and the fourth is Codaudam}. These 
four, with the king, govern everything. Each of these has a great 
many mounted followers when he goes to the palace, and they 
all have a great retinue. They are lords who are natives of the 
kingdom and they are responsible for the administration of 
justice, and the government of the kingdom, and the king’s 
revenue; and they are the electors of the kingdom when the 
king dies. They are all lords by title. The king has up to a thou- 
sand wives and concubines. This king is called the king of 
principal India, and because this kingdom is noble only on 
account of its trade, I thought it necessary to speak of it. 

1 now come to the trade of Cambay. These [people] are [like] Trade of 
Italians in their knowledge of and dealings in merchandise. ^ All 

the trade in Cambay is in the hands of the heathen. Their 
general designation is Gujaratees, and then they are divided into 
various races — Banians, Brahmans and Pattars. There is no 
doubt that these people have the cream of the trade. They are 
men who understand merchandise; they are so properly steeped 
in the sound and harmony of it, that the Gujaratees say that any 
offence connected with merchandise is pardonable. There are 
Gujaratees settled everywhere. They work some for some and 
others for others. They are diligent, quick men in trade. They 
do their accounts with figures like ours and with our very writ- 
ing. They are men who do not give away anything that belongs 
to them, nor do they want anything that belongs to anyone else; 
wherefore they have been esteemed in Cambay up to the present, 
practising their idolatry, because they enrich the kingdom 
greatly with the said trade.] There are also some Cairo merchants FoI. isir, 

* These names are given in the Lisbon MS as ‘milagoly, camlemalle, 
asturmallee, cadaodao’. 

2 In the Lisbon MS it reads: ‘They seem to me better than Italians in the 
knowledge of all merchandise.’ Ramusio omitted the reference to the Italians. 



mares) of 

settled in Cambay, and many Khorasans and Guilans from Aden 
and Ormuz, all of whom do a great trade in the seaport towns 
of Cambay; but none of these count in comparison with the 
heathens, especially in knowledge. Those of our people who 
want to be clerks and factors ought to go there and learn, be- 
cause the business of trade is a science in itself which does not 
hinder any other noble exercise, but helps a great deal. 

The Pattars of Cambay are the most honoured Brahmans. 
They are originally descended from the kings of Cambay, be- 
cause in older times the kings were Brahmans, as they are in 
Malabar today. These [Pattars] take the merchandise through 
the country, and the merchants are greatly esteemed. Even 
when going through robber-infested country, the merchants are 
not molested if they are accompanied by a Pattar; and they have 
this distinction in these parts. And if they rob them, they kill 
themselves, or wound themselves with daggers, and the other 
Brahmans anoint the images with their blood and drag them 
along, until justice is done, and they do it and give them back 
what is theirs. The Brahmans are held in great esteem among 
the heathen; and these are the most honoured because they do 
not eat anything that has been living. These are the ones who 
carry the letters, if they come as couriers^ because they are safe 
from the thieves. You shall find what manner of men they are 
back^ in the description of Malabar. 

And so both the Gujaratis and the merchants who have 
settled in Cambay — the chief city of Miligobim — sail many ships 
to all parts, to Aden, Ormuz, the kingdom of the Deccan, Goa, 
Bhatkal, all over Malabar, Ceylon, Bengal, Pegu, Siam, Pedir, 
Pase (Paefe) and Malacca, where they take quantities of mer- 
chandise, bringing other kinds back, thus making Cambay rich 
and important. Cambay chiefly stretches out two arms, with her 
right arm she reaches out towards Aden and with the other 
towards Malacca, as the most important places to sail to, and 
the other places are held to be of less importance. 

* See note p. 39. 

^ The transcriber may have substituted atras (back) for adiante (further 
on), as written in the Lisbon MS, in order to adjust the word to the arrange- 
ment of his copy. See. Introduction, p. Ixxi. 



The merchants from Cairo bring the merchandise which How they 
comes from Italy and Greece and Damascus to Aden, such as 
gold, silver, quicksilver, vermilion, copper, rosewater, camlets, 
scarlet-in-grain, coloured woollen cloth, glass beads, weapons 
and things of that kind. 

[The merchants of] Aden bring the above mentioned goods With 
with the addition of madder, raisins, opium, rosewater, quan- ^den. 
tities of gold and silver and horses that Aden gets from Zeila 
and Berbera and the islands of Suakin, in the Strait, and from 
Arabia, and they come to do business in Cambay. They take 
back with them all the products of Malacca: cloves, nutmeg, 
mace, sandalwood, brazil wood, silks, seed pearls, musk, 
porcelain, and other things which may be found in the [list of] 
merchandise from Malacca, as well as the following from the 
country itself: rice, wheat, soap, indigo, butter [and lard?]', oils, 
camelians, coarse pottery^ like that from Seville, and all kinds 
of cloth, for trading in Zeila, Berbera, Sokotra, Kilwa, Malindi, 
Mogadishu, and other places in Arabia. And this trade is carried 
out by ships from Aden and ships from Cambay, many of one 
and many of the other. 

And it [Cambay] trades with all the other places I have 
mentioned, bartering one kind of merchandise for another, as 
none of them can maintain itself without trading with the others. 

Anyone who wants more detailed knowledge of the merchandise 
of each country will know what the merchants take back from 
there, and I do not put it down here because the merchandise of 
each country can be seen in the account of it. 

It has all the silks there are in these parts, all the different Merchan- 
kinds of cotton material, of which there must be twenty, all of 
great value; it has camelians, indigo and a little lac which the 
land produces, pachak, catechu 3, a great deal of good opium, 

* Pires uses the word manteigas, ‘butters’, which may mean simply butter, 
or butter and lard. In Portuguese manteiga de vaca is the ordinary butter, and 
manteiga deporco, hog’s lard. 

* Malegua, as it appears in the MS, is a Portuguese word which was 
formerly also spelt tnalega (as in the Lisbon MS). Today it is spelt malga and 
means usually a bowl or soup-dish. In this case its meaning is ‘pottery’. 

3 The two words pucho and cacho used by Pires, correspond to pachak and 
catechu. Sometimes transcribers put the two words together, as for example 


Fol. 131V. 





wormwood^ tincal, cotton, soap in large quantities, dressed 
hides, leather, honey, wax; the following foodstuffs: wheat, 
barley, millet^, sesame-oil, rice, butter, meat, and things of that 
sort, coarse pottery of different kinds, all natural products of 
Cambay, or brought thither from the countries of the neigh- 
bouring kings. 

The people of Ormuz bring horses to Cambay, and silver, 
gold, silk, alum, vitriob, copperas, and seed pearls. They bring 
back the products of the country and those brought there from 
Malacca, because they come to Cambay for all the Malacca 
merchandise. The people of Ormuz take back rice and food- 

in the Portuguese edition of the Livro de Duarte Barbosa (p. 289), where these 
two drugs appear in a single word cachopucho. This led Dames to believe, 
after discussing the matter at length (i, 155; ii, 173, 234), that it was cajeput, 
‘a fragrant essential oil produced especially in Celebes and the neighbouring 
island of Bouro’ (Hobson-Jobson, s.v.). The name cajeput is taken from the 
Malay kayu-puteh, which means ‘white wood’; the product comes chiefly from 
Melaleuca leucadendrotilAnn., ‘a large bush or a tree, very variable, found from 
Tenasserim to the Moluccas’, also called Paper-bark-tree, the wood of which 
is much in demand in Malaysia. Cf. Burkill, A Dictionary of the Economic 
Products of the Malay Peninsula, pp. 1431-3. No reference is found to cajeput 
in any early Portuguese writing. Cachopucho is referred to by Barbosa as a 
product taken from Cambay to Malacca and China, and further on he says; 
‘cacho and pucho (which are Cambay drugs).’ Watt does not mention cajeput. 
Orta deals at length With pucho (xvil) and with cacho (xxxi). Pachak is costus, 
the root of Saussurea lappa C. B. Clarke. Catechu or cutch is a pale yellow 
gum from Acacia catechu Wild. 

* There are several species of wormwood, or Pires’ erva lombrigueira. The 
one found in Portugal is Artemisia variabilis Ten. Coutinho, A Flora de 
Portugal, p. 636. Dames (i, 154), as well as several Portuguese-English 
dictionaries, identify the erva lombrigueira with the southernwood or 
Artemisia abrotanum. He says, however, that the southernwood alluded to was 
‘probably the Artemisia indica or Indian wormwood’. Watt (pp. 93-4) refers 
to several species of the genus Artemisia as found in India, but neither to A. 
variabilis nor to A. indica. 

^ The word milho used by Pires corresponds in Portugal today to maize or 
Indian-corn, Zea Mays Linn. But he certainly does not mean this one, since 
maize came to India from America, possibly brought thence direct by the 
Portuguese. Cf. Watt, p. 1132. There are also in Portugal the 'milho zaburro’ 
— Andropogum Sorghum Linn., ‘milho meudo' — Panicum miliaceum Linn., and 
'milho painfo’ — Setaria italica Linn. Coutinho, pp. 65, 67. Pires meant by 
milho the Sorghum — great miWet, jowaur or juar, and Pennisetum typhoideum 
Rich. — Bulrush, cumboo or spiked millet, which are extensively grown at 
Cambay and in other parts of India. 

3 The aziche (vitriol) of the Paris MS appears as azinhaure (aloes) in the 
Lisbon MS. 



stuffs for the most part, and spice. They bring bales of soft dates 
from Ormuz, and also some in jars and dried dates of three or 
four kinds. 

They trade with the kingdom of the Deccan and Goa and 
with Malabar, and they have factors ever5rwhere, who live and Deccan 
set up business — as the Genoese do in our part [of the world] — and^oa, 
in places like Bengal, Pegu, Siam, Pedir, Pase, Kedah, taking Malabar 
back to their own country the kind of merchandise which is and other 
valued there. And there is no trading place where you do not see 
Gujarat merchants. Gujarat ships come to these kingdoms every 
year, one ship straight to each place. The Gujaratees used to have 
large factories in Calicut. 

The Cambay merchants make Malacca their chief trading Trade 
centre. There used to be a thousand Gujarat merchants in 
Malacca, besides four or five thousand Gujarat seamen, who 
came and went. Malacca cannot live without Cambay, nor Cam- 
bay without Malacca, if they are to be very rich and very pros- 
perous. All the clothes and things from Gujarat have trading 
value in Malacca and in the kingdoms which trade with Malacca; 
for the products of Malacca are esteemed not only in this [part 
of the.?] world, but in others, where no doubt they are wanted. 

A more detailed description of its merchandise will be found in 
the account of Malacca. If Cambay were cut off from trading 
with Malacca, it could not live, for it would have no outlet for 
its merchandise. 

The Gujaratees were better seamen and did more navigating Trade 
than the other people of these parts, and so they have larger 
ships and more men to man them. They have great pilots and do 
a great deal of navigation. The heathen of Cambay — and in 
older times the Gujaratees — held that they must never kill any- 
one, nor must they have an armed man in their company. If 
they were captured and [their captors] wanted to kill them all, 
they did not resist. This is the Gujarat law among the heathen. 

Now they have many men-at-arms to defend their ships. Before 
the channel of Malacca was discovered they used to trade with 
Java round the south of the island of Sumatra. They used to go 
in between Sunda and the point of Sumatra island and sail to 
Grisee (Agraci) whence they took the products of the Moluccas, 

The mer- 
who come 
and start 
here for 


Timor and Banda*, and came back very rich men. It is not a 
hundred years since they gave up this route. There are keels, 
anchors and other parts of Gujarat ships in Grisee, which they 
show, saying that they are left from the time of the Gujaratees. 

As the kingdom of Cambay had this trade with Malacca, mer- 
chants of the following nations used to accompany the Gujaratees 
there in their ships, and some of them used to settle in the place, 
sending off the merchandise, while others took it in person, to 
wit, Mafaris and people from Cairo, many Arabs, chiefly from 
Aden, and with these came Abyssinians, and people from 
Ormuz, Kilwa, Malindi, Mogadishu and Mombassa, Persians, 
to wit, Rumes, Turkomans, Armenians, Guilans, Khorasans and 
men of Shiraz. There are many of these in Malacca; and many 
people from the kingdom of the Deccan used to take up their 
companies in Cambay. The trade of Cambay is extensive and 
comprises cloths of many kinds and of a fair quality (.?)2, rough 
clothing, seeds such as nigella, cumin, ameos, fenugreek, roots 
like rampion, which they call pachak, and earth like lac which 
they call catechu 3, liquid storax and other things of the kind. 

* In the Paris MS it is written do ouro, but the Lisbon MS has bamda, and 
Ramusio Bandam. 

2 After he boos (of a fair quality) the Paris MS has the words em cados, the 
meaning of which I cannot find. The two words have been omitted in the 
Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 

3 Nigella — The word alipiuri used by Pires is the old Portuguese name 
alipivri for the seeds of Nigella, small fennel or black cumin — Nigella sativa 
Linn. Watt (p. 8i i) says that this plant ‘a native of Southern Europe’, used by 
the natives as medicine or a condiment, is ‘extensively cultivated in India for 
its seeds’. Burkill (p. 1556), however, comments: ‘Watt states that the 
cultivation is extensive in some parts of India, but this is scarcely correct, and 
it is rare to find it away from the extreme north-western parts of the country’. 
This fully covers Cambay. 

Cumin — Pires’ cominhos is the true cumin — Cuminum Cyminum Linn., a 
plant more or less cultivated in most provinces of India. 

Ameos — Orta (xi) refers to the ameos {dmios or amis in modern Portuguese) 
calling them ‘wild cumins’ {cominhos rusticus). This must correspond to the 
bishop’s weed, the umbelliferous Ammi majns, which like the cumin belongs 
to the tribe Amminea. Ficalho {Coloquios, i, 148) suggests that Orta ‘might 
have given this name {ameos) to some Umbelliferae of aromatic seeds, which 
are frequent in India’. The word has been omitted in the Lisbon MS and in 

Fenugreek or fenugraec, Pires’ allforua or alforva, is the Trigonella foe- 
num graecum Linn. ‘A robust annual herb, wild in Kashmir, the Panjdb and 
the Upper Gangetic Plain; cultivated in many parts, particularly in the 



They return loaded up with all the rich merchandise of the 
Moluccas, Banda and China, and they used to bring a great deal 
of gold. It was upon the Gujaratis that it weighed most heavily 
when Malacca came into Your Highness’ possession, and it was 
they who were responsible for the betrayal of Diogo Lopes de 
Sequeira^; and today they sing in the market-places of Malacca 
of how the town has had to pay for what the Malayans did on 
the advice of the Gujaratis. 

higher regions.’ Watt, p. io8i. Orta, xiii. It is also a native plant in 

Rampion, Pires’ Rvy pomtiz or ruipontiz (which is also called ruiponto, 
rapuncio, raponcio or rapongo in Portuguese), is Campanula Rapunculus Linn., 
a plant with a tuberous esculent root. 'Ruipdnto — Pharmacology. “Raiz do 
ponto", which looks like rhubarb, comes from Asia’, says Morais, Diccionario 
da Lingua Portugueza, s.v. (Lisbon, 1789). This explains why Pires says that 
pachak (pucho, which the transcriber spelt pufha here) is ‘roots like rampion’. 

Catechu — There was a time when the cacho or catechu was supposed to 
be a natural earth, and as it reached Europe by way of Japan, in the seven- 
teenth century it even received the name of Terra Japonica. See note on 
catechu, pp. 43-4. 

The transcriber of the Lisbon MS perhaps was unable to understand this 
piece of Pires’ writing, and simply suppressed what he did not understand. 

’ See note pp. 235-6. 



[Deccan — Goa — Kanara — Narsinga — Malabar — Ceylon] 


W E will describe the great and warlike kingdom of the 
Deccan. It is separated from the kingdom of Cambay 
along by Maymi or May^, and from the kingdom of 
Kharepatan {Cara patanam), and from the country 
quern). inland where the king of Narsinga is, and from the kingdom of 
Orissa by a narrow inlet, and on the side of Cambay upwards by 
the mountains which are between India and Delhi. This king- 
dom produces plenty of foodstuffs, and the land is well culti- 
vated. It is a larger kingdom than that of Cambay and the people 
of the country are better warriors, gallant by nature [like] the 
people of the land of Kanara, and the peons are very hard work- 
ing. This kingdom contains many white people. It must be two 
hundred and fifty years since this kingdom was won from the 
heathen by the Rumes and Turks and Persians. Like the kingdom 
Seaports. Cambay it has many inland cities and many seaports. 

If you sail from Mahim to the kingdorn of Goa the ports in 
the kingdom of the Deccan are as follows: Chaul, Dande 
(Danda), Mataleni, Dab hoi (Dabull), Sangameshwar(iS'««^f^ar<2), 
Kharepatan [Carapatanamy. 

* Kelve Mahim. 

* In the Lisbon MS these names read as follows: ‘chaull dada mataline/ 
dabull/ samgisarra/ carepatao/’. 

Chaull — Chaul or Cheul is a place of great antiquity, formerly one of the 
most important seaports in Western India; still called Port Chaul on the 
Admiralty Charts. As Pires says further on, the port of Chaul was already 
declining in his time. It is situated on the north side of the wide harbour 
formed by the estuary of the Kondulika River or Roha Creek. Recorded on 
Rodrigues’ map as chaull. 

Danda — There is a place called Dande on the north side of Rajpuri Creek, 
in the eastern part of Janjira harbour, which must correspond to Pires’ 
Danda. On the map published by J. S. King in his History of the Bahmarn 
Dynasty {The Indian Antiquary, vol. 28, Bombay, 1899) the place appears as 
Danda, but situated on the south side of the creek. Further north on the 



TliC West Coast ol Ind r rm fc^rding to Tom6 Pires (pp. 33-84) 


Rodrigues’ map (fol. 28) depicting the East Coast of Arabia, 
eastern part of the Persian Gulf, West Coast of India, Ceylon and 
the Laccadive Islands (p. 520) 

^ — 7 







There are twenty towns in the kingdom of the Deccan, the Principal 
ones with the most inhabitants being Bidar {Bider), Bijapur 
( Visapor), Cidador, Sholapur (Solapor), Raichur (Rachull), Sagar 
(Qagar), Kulbarga {Quellberga), Koyer (Queher), Bayn^. 

coast, between Roha Creek and Rajpuri Creek there is another place called 
Dande. The name survives also in the village Revadanda, where the fort built 
by the Portuguese still exists. Chaul and Revadanda have now spread so much 
towards each other that they are more often called Upper Chaul and Lower 
Chaul. Castro says that Danda is ‘one of the greatest and most famous rivers 
of this coast, being four leagues from Chaul’. Roteiro de Goa a Dio, p. 48. 

On the Reinel maps of c. 1517 and c. 1518 Danda appears to the south of 
Dabhol, but on all the other early maps it is placed immediately south of 
Chaul. Cifardam on L. Homem’s map of 1 554. 

Mataleni — This name does not appear in any Portuguese chronicle or map. 

Castro (pp. 39-48) refers to three rivers, between Dabhol and Danda, from 
south to north, the Quelecim, the Beigoim, and the Cifardam. Cifardam 
corresponds to Srivardham or Shrivardham bay, which Castro rightly places 
five leagues south of Danda. Quelecim is the Bharia, which he locates seven 
leagues north of Dabhol and about one south of Beifoim, saying that it is 
exactly in 18 degrees of latitude (correct lat. 17° 56' N). Beigoim is the Savitri 
River, the most important of the three, of which he gives an accurate chart, 
where Port Bankot now stands. This must correspond to Pires’ Mataleni, 
perhaps the river Mandaba, placed by Barbosa between Danda and Dabhol 
and identified by Dames (i, 164) with the Savitri River. Mandaba does not 
appear in any chronicle or map. 

Sangizara — The Cinguigar of Barbosa and Zamgizara of Castro, is the 
Sangameshwar or Shastri Joygad River. 

Carapatanam — Kharepatan. Castro (pp. 23-31) gives a detailed descrip- 
tion and an accurate chart of the Rio de Carapatao which corresponds 
exactly to the entrance of Vijaydurg or Vijayadurg harbour, at the entrance 
of the Vaghotan River. He says that ‘ It is the noblest and best sheltered river 
of all those which flow on this coast of India, and its excellence is such that 
there are not enough words to praise it’. According to the West Coast of India 
Pilot, Vijaydurg is today a port of little importance. It must be related to the 
Arapatam referred to by Barbosa. Dames (i, 169) took the names Arapatam 
and Muruary as meaning two sorts of pulses which he tries to connect with 
two Indian plant names, arburrah and mohri or mahasurt. Dalgado (ii, 455, 

507) also says that Arapatao is the arburrah or the garden pea, Pisum sativum 
Linn., and t\\.zx Muruary is mulayari, the Malayalam word for ‘seed of bamboos, 
which is used in several parts as a foodstuff’. Although the defective punc- 
tuation of the 1821 Portuguese edition (p. 293) may justify this confusion, it 
seems more likely that Barbosa refers the words Arapatan and Muruary to 
‘other small places which are also sea ports’, and not to ‘pulses’. The name 
still survives in the village Kharepatan, on the left bank of the river, twenty 
miles from its mouth. 

‘ In the Lisbon MS these names read as follows: ‘badir vesapor ^idapor 
solapor Rachull cugar/ quell/ berguaquelher bain.’ Bider — Bidar, in the State 
of Hyderabad. Both Barbosa and Barros mention Bider. Visapor — Bijapur. 

Bisapor in Barros, Visapor in Castanheda. Solapor — Sholapur, in Bombay 

H.C.S. I. 



Name of 
the king 
and the 


The king is called Sultan Mahatnud Xaa. Next in rank to the 
king are Idalhan, Niza Malmulc, Cupall Mullc, Hodanan, and 
Miliqui DasturK These four lords, and those who succeed to 
their titles, govern the kingdom. This Idalhan is a Turk from 
Turkey. His father was a slave of this king’s father, and as the 
king considered him to be a man of worth he made him ^abayo^. 
This name of fabayo is a Siamese name like captain of the king’s 
guard who governs half the kingdom. The man who holds this 
office is called the fabayo. The official fabayo holds a vital 
position in the kingdom. The one who has this dignity is a very 
great lord and he ministers to the king in all that he needs. This 
office was held by the father of its present holder. 

The former fabayo was a knight of great esteem, and they say 
that he took part in forty pitched battles and was defeated in 

Province. Rachull — Raichur, in Hyderabad. Qagar — Sagar, in Gulbarga 
District, Hyderabad. Seguer in Barros. Quellberga — Kulbarga or Gulbarga, 
in Hyderabad. Calbergd, in Barros. Queher — Koyer or Kohir, in Bidar Dis- 
trict, Hyderabad. Querhif, in Barros. Bayn — Bhaja, a small old town in Poona 
District, Bombay? Or Badami, another small old town in Bajapur District, 
Bombay? Vay, in Barros. 

I Mahamud xaa — Mahmud Shah, Bahmani king of the Deccan. Idalham 
or Idalcam — Adil Khan, meaning ‘The righteous Lord’. The usual form 
among the Portuguese chroniclers was Idalcao, Adilchan, Hidalcao and 
Hidalchan\ but Orta (x) calls him Adelham, which seems more like Pires’ 
Idalham. This title was extended by the Portuguese to all the kings of the 
Mohammedan dynasty of Bijapur. Niza malmulc — Nizam-ul-Mulk, ‘The 
Regulator of the State.’ Barros (ii, v, 2) gives the names of the principal 
‘captains’ of Mahmud Shah, who held power in the Deccan when the 
Portuguese came to India, among them the four mentioned by Pires. This 
one is called Nizamaluco by Barros as well as by the other chroniclers. 
Cupall mullc — Kutb-ul-Mulk,‘The Pole-Star of the State’; called Cotama- 
luco by Barros and Cotalmaluco by Orta. Hodanan or Hodan an han. Perhaps 
Kwaja Mukaddan, the Coje Mocadam of Barros, and the Mohadum Coja of Orta. 
Miliqui dastur or Milic Dastur — Malik Dastur or Malik Dinar Dastur-i 
Mamalik, o Abexi capado (the Abyssinian eunuch) of Barros, later referred 
to by Pires as an ‘Abyssinian slave of the king’. In the Lisbon MS these 
names appear rather mixed up: ‘mamedxa/ idalham niga/ mall malet/ 
odanam/ melique destur/’. 

^ Qabaio. There has been a good deal of speculation about the origin and 
meaning of this title Qabaio, or, as more often spelt by the Portuguese 
chroniclers, Sabaio. Barros (ii, v, i) says that when the Portuguese ‘came into 
India the lord of this city of Goa was a Moor named Soay, captain of the 
King of the Deccan, whom we commonly call Sabayo’. Dames (i, 172-4) has 
already dealt extensively with this question. 



thirty and victorious in ten. Shortly after his death, his son 
called himself Idallcaniy which means captain general of the 
whole kingdom, and seized the king, and the king has to live 
where the Idalcam wishes and is more or less a prisoner. How- 
ever, when the Idalcam sees the Sultan Mahamud Xaa, he does 
show him a certain amount of deference. Idalcam took this 
bold step against the wishes of the four and of the king, because 
all the white people in the kingdom came under his jurisdic- 
tion; and because he was a foreigner and a Turk and held this 
office, most of the mercenaries came to his support. With the 
exception of Bidar, all the towns in the kingdom are for the 
most part under the Idalcam! s jurisdiction. As long as this man 
was ^abaio, these other lords were as powerful and important 
as he; but when he called himself Idalcam they all came under 
him; and, as this offended them, they are always at war, as we 
shall see later. All the seaports in this kingdom belong to the 
Qabaio, except Chaul and Dande. 

The Lord of Chaul and Dande is called Niza mall mulec. The Lord 
His father was a Turk by birth. He was one of the king of the Chaul 
Deccan’s slaves and became a great lord, and holds many places 
inland. He has a thousand white warriors from Persia and a 
thousand horsemen. 

This Cupall mulec is a great lord. Others call him Cutell Cupal 
mamaluqo. He is a native of the kingdom of the Deccan and was 
not a slave. He is a man of great worth and greatly esteemed 
in the land. They say that he has nearly one thousand five 
hundred mounted white men. 

This man is a native of the kingdom, like the above, and has Hodau 
as much land and people. 

This Milic Dastur is an Abyssinian slave of the king, and Milic 
almost as important as each of these. His land borders on 
the Narsinga frontier, and he lives in Kulbarga where he has a 
garrison. The ^abaio took this city from him, and now they are 
at war. 

When the above four lords join forces in agreement they have 
between twelve and fifteen thousand mounted men, counting 
natives as well as white men. These four have joined together 
against the Qabaio. The Qabaio, who is now Idalcam^ has as 



many men as they, and they are continually at war with one 
Fol. 1 32V. another. The pay in this country is better than any in these | 
parts. They are sometimes badly paid. There are also many 
heathen natives and many esteemed Brahmans. Whenever a 
heathen of the country dies, it is the custom for his wife, if he 
has one, to burn herself alive, so that she may keep her husband 
company wherever he may be. If she does not do this, not only 
is she herself dishonoured, but all her relatives also; and some- 
times the wives are not very willing and their relatives and the 
Brahmans persuade them to burn themselves, so as not to depart 
from the custom. 

The kingdom of the Deccan is a land of chivalry. It must have 
about thirty thousand mounted men, besides countless foot 
soldiers. Those white people whom we call Rumes used generally 
to come to this kingdom and to Goa to earn wages and honour. 
This king used to bestow names like miliques'^, for instance, so- 
and-so milic, and the most honoured name is han or carF' and 
they use to come to win these titles. The cans are greatly 
esteemed and honoured here — I mean the plural of can, and 
not dogs [caes in Portuguese]. The people of this kingdom are 
full of pride and presumption. The king is addicted to opium 
and women, and spends all his time in this way. And his Idalcam 
is no less so. The king must be about forty years old and the 
Idalcam thirty. They are both fat men, and given to every form 
of vice. There must be about two hundred Turks, Rumes and 
Arabs in the kingdom of the Deccan, and from ten to twelve 
thousand Persian men-at-arms. The man who has the most 
white men in this kingdom is the most powerful. This kingdom 
must possess about fifty elephants, and it has Arab and Persian 
horses of unbelievable value. 

Food- There is an abundance of rice in the kingdom of the Deccan, and 

stuffs. some wheat and meat. There is a great deal of areca and betel. 
Trade in The Deccan used to do a great deal of trade, chiefly in Dabhol. 

the It was a rich and honoured port of call, a good port, with many 
DTccan. ^ ships; and Your Highness treated these ports so ill that they 

1 Mjlique or Mjlic — Malik, which actually meant king, but was used as 
meaning ruler or lord. 

2 Han or Can — Khan, which means prince. 



were destroyed, and Diu, from being a wilderness, became great, 
through Your Highness’ favour. It still has great mechants and 
carries on trade, but not the tenth part of what it used to do. 

These used to be ports of call between Aden and Malacca. They 
used to deal in all kinds of merchandise in large ships belonging 
to many merchants. These were good halfway ports, set in 
fertile country with plenty of water. Most of the horses imported 
into the kingdom of the Deccan were landed here. These were 
rich ports, and the king of the Deccan and his (^ahaio and Nazi- 
mall mulec had a right to the dues, and this enabled them to pay 
good wages; but now that the Captain-Generab has made over 
this trade to the civilized kingdom of Goa, the kingdom of the 
Deccan will not be able to maintain its position much longer. 

The way is open for it to be lost beyond recall, or for Goa to 
become the greatest place in the worlds. Time shows all these 
things as it passes; and there is reason to believe that it should 
be so, since it is plain beyond contradiction that there used to be 
a great deal of very rich trade in Dab hoi. The port of Chaul was 
renowned throughout Asia, and so was Dabhol — Dabhol not so 
much, on account of the water there, which is brackish. The 
followers of Mohammed are apprehensive. These people who 
were so prosperous are watching their wealth fade away (?). 

This kingdom of the Deccan produces the following merchan- Merchan 
dise: calicos — cloths in white and countless colours — and bea- 
tilhaSy which the Moors and Klings generally use for their 
turbans. They make enough of these two things to furnish the 
world. They also make black beads in this kingdom which are 
good for Diua^ and Abyssinia. Most of the betel, which is called 

* Afonso de Albuquerque. 

* Time has indeed proved Pires to have been right in his prophecy — as far 
as the Orient was concerned. 

3 Dina — This single word is repeated further on (p. 84). It might mean 
Diu, which Barbosa calls ‘a great town named by the Malabars Deuixa' 

(Port. ed. p. 282), and which appears as Diuxa in Ramusio’s translation. 

Yule says that the town stands on an island, whence its name, from Skt. 
ducipa. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Diu. But it is more likely that Diua may mean 
the Maidive islands, whose etymology has been explained in so many ways, 
although it probably embodies the same Sanskrit word dvipa. Further on 
Pires calls the Maidive Islands quite clearly Ilhas de diva. See note p. 82. 

In the Lisbon MS it is also Diua, but Ramusio transformed it into Adem. 


folio Indo\ goes from here to Cambay, Ormuz and Aden, 
although that from Goa is better. As the ports in this king- 
dom were conveniently situated, the merchandise from all 
over Asia and Europe was to be found there; and the port of 
Chaul was very famous, but it is already on the decline. 

[go a] 

Fol. i33r. Now our road takes us to the magnificent kingdom of Goa — 
the key to the First and Second India. On the sea-coast it is 
separated from the Deccan by Kharepatan, the chief river in 

(Guoa). India; on the Honawar side it has Cintacora\ and inland it is 
bounded by the kingdom of the Deccan and the kingdom of 
Narsinga. The language which is spoken in this kingdom is 
Konkani. The kingdom of Goa was always esteemed as the best 
of the king of Narsinga’s possessions, for it was as important as 
it was prosperous. The people of the Deccan won part of this 
kingdom from him, and afterwards the old Qabaio, father of the 
present one, won the rest of it from the heathens. It is forty-five 
years since the (fahaio took over this kingdom, and as long as it 
formed part of the kingdom of the Deccan, Goa was the head of 
the whole kingdom of the Deccan and Goa. The language of this 
kingdom of Goa does not resemble that of the Deccan, nor that 
of Narsinga, but is a separate language. The people of this 
kingdom are strong, prudent and very hard-working, both on 
land and sea. 

Seaports. Next to Kharepatan along the sea coast Goa has Devgarh 
{Damdriuar), Banda, Old Goa, New Goa, Liga (Aliga), Ancoll, 
Pale (Vpale), Sal River {Rijo de Sail), Cape Ramas {Ponta 

* Fires repeats the same assertion later on, when describing Bachian 
(Pacham) island, and in his letter of 1516 Barbosa says also — ‘This betel we 
call folio Indio’ (Port. ed. p. 292), a misconception which passed unnoticed by 
Dames, who simply translated folio Indio as ‘the Indian leaf’ (i, 168). This 
mistake was wide-spread in the sixteenth century, and Orta himself fell into 
it until he went to India, as he explains in the Last Colloquy. Then he 
corrected the error, showing that betel is one thing, and ‘folio indo’ or ‘folium 
indum’ something quite different. There is betel or Piper Betele Linn., and 
there is Folio Indo, which is the Cinnamomum Tamala Fries, ‘cassia lignea’ or 
‘cassia cinnamon’, the bark and leaves (known also as folia malabathri) of 
which are applied in medicine, etc. See note p. 219. 



Darrama), Cimtacora, Anjediva {AmjadiuaY . Between these ports 
there are rivers, which ships used to — and still do — navigate. 

* In the Lisbon MS these names read as follows: ‘damda/ mujbamda/ guoa 
a velha/ & a nova alimga/ amola/ o Rio do Sail/ apomta da Rama/ 

9imta9ora/ amgediua/.’ 

Damdriuar — Devgad or Devgarh harbour. Three leagues south of Cara- 
patao, Castro (pp. 22—3) places the Rio de Tamaraa, with ‘a very beautiful bay 
nearly round shaped’, which corresponds to Devgarh harbour, or Pires’ 
Damdriuar. About ten miles inland, on the right bank of the river that 
debouches at Devgarh, there is a village called Tamhara. The map of c. 1510 
has dendbasya, between dabull and goa. One of the ports mentioned by Castro 
may be the Muruary of Barbosa (see note p. 49), perhaps Pires’ Damdriuar. 

Banda — To the south, the only important port before Goa is Vengurla, 
sixteen miles east-south-eastward of which is the inland town of Banda. 
Banda is also referred to as a seaport by Barbosa and Barros, and appears as 
bamda on some Portuguese maps, always south of Goa. 

Guoa velha — Old Goa. 

Guoa noua — New Goa or Pangim. As early as 1433—4 Ibn Batuta wrote: 
‘There are in the island (of Sdndabur, or Goa) two cities, one ancient built by 
the pagans; the second built by the Mussulmans when they conquered the 
island the first time.’ Cf. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Sindabtir. 

Aliga — This must be the Kalinadi or Liga River, called by Barros ‘rio 
Aliga de Cintacora’ (i, ix, i), but coming immediately after Goa, it seems to 
be misplaced. 

Ancoll — Suggests the town of Ankola, in a creek thirteen miles south-east 
of the mouth of the Liga or Kalinadi River. Ankola is the Ancola which 
Castanheda (iii, xxxiii) says lay four leagues from Anjediva, and which is 
mentioned by other chroniclers. Ancola appears between cintacala and mergeo 
in D. Homem’s atlas of 1558. But there is also, after Goa, on the south-east 
coast of Mormugao peninsula, a place called Colla or Culua, at the mouth of 
a small river in Colla Bay, which the Portuguese call Mar de Colla. Perhaps 
the Ancoll of Pires corresponds to the ‘tanadaria of Colator', a seaport in the 
Goa District, mentioned by Barros (ii, v, 2). 

Vpale — There is a small place called Pale, Palee or Paula on the eastern side 
of Colla Bay. As all these ports are indicated in succession, from north to 
south, it seems that Ancoll indeed corresponds to Colla, though it may be 
that there is some confusion with Ankola and the misplacing of Aliga. 

Rijo DE SALL — Sal River, sixteen miles south-east of Pale. It appears on 
some early Portuguese maps. 

PoNTA DARRAMA — Cabo de Rama or Cape Ramas, four and a half miles 
south-west of Sal River. It appears also on several early Portuguese maps. 

CiMTACORA — Castanheda says that ‘one league from the island of Anjediva, 
at the mouth of a great river of fresh water, there was a great fortress of the 
Moors called Cintacora’ (ii, xiii). Almost all the chroniclers refer to Cintacora 
as a fortified place or as a river, very near Anjediva island. Barros (i, viii, x) 
calls this river Aliga de Cintacora and refers to the origin of the fortress. The 
river is the Kalinadi, formerly the Liga River. ‘On the northern side of the 
river, just within the entrance, on the summit of a 218-foot (66-4m) hill, are 
the remains of an old fort, and on a hill about a quarter of a mile eastward are 


And because these things belong to the kingdom of Goa, we 
will only speak of Goa itself. On the mainland it had cities and 
towns, many tanadarias'- yielding large revenues and having 
highly cultivated lands, which are still in the hands of the 
Moors; but since the great city of Goa, which is the key to all 
[the rest], is now in the power and service of the most high God, 
it will not be long before the remainder follow it. 

In the same way as doors are the defence of houses, so are sea- 
ports the help, defence and main protection of provinces and 
kingdoms; and once these are taken and subjugated, the pro- 
vinces and kingdoms are put to great suffering, and if they have 
quarrels among themselves or with their neighbours, they are 
immediately lost because they have no help, especially as these 
kingdoms had no other protection but the city and port of Goa, 
which was their principal thing. Goa used to be a haunt of 
thieves, Turks, Rumes and people who die opposing our faith. 
Goa was preparing to inflict great losses on the Christians, but 
God’s judgement turned the loss upon them, for there is no 
doubt that the Moors groaned when Goa was taken. Goa was a 
place so arranged that in the space of a year the Moors could 
easily get together armadas there, such as they could not get in 
Suez in twenty. 

Who can doubt that in the rout of Goa, ships were taken 
which the Moors had made ready to fight against us, and which 
afterwards went to Banda to bring cargoes of mace for us? The 
judgement of our Lord is incomprehensible, and let every one 

the ruins of another fort. The town of Sadashivgarh (Sadashivgad) is situated 
close northward of these hills.’ West Coast of India Pilot. The whole of this 
place is still called Chitakuli or Chitakul which corresponds to the Cintacora 
of the Portuguese. This must be the Cintabor of the Medici sea atlas (1351) 
or the Chintabor of the Catalan map (1375—81), which rather perplexed Yule 
{Cathay, iv, 65, etc.) and Dames (i, 171-2, 182). It already appeared as Rio 
de cimtacolla, south of the ilhas degoa, on Rodrigues’ map of the west coast of 
India, as Cymtaquola on P. Reinel’s map of c. 1517, and Cimtacola on other 
early maps. 

Amjadiua — Anjediva Island, ajadiua on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 28). 

' Tanadaria. The post held by the tanadar, actually meaning ‘chief of local 
police’, in Hindustani. The word was adopted by the Portuguese in India who 
used it in a wider sense, for the military authority of a small town, or 
receiver of revenues and customs. Tanadar or Thanadar is still in use in 
British India in the civil sense. 



take good note that the Moors suffered a greater loss in Goa than 
they will suffer when they lose Aden. Goa not only curbs the 
kingdom of the Deccan, but it stifles that of Cambay too. The 
Moors have a bad neighbour in Goa. Just as the Moors used to 
go on conquering kingdoms, they are now losing them. A king- 
dom without ports is a house without portals. It is Our Lord 
who decrees the downfall of Mohammed, and John the writer^ 
is rapidly bringing it about. The time has already come. Let no 
one in India count on the Moors now, except on those who 
plough the hills. The kingdom of Goa is the most important in 
India, although they may not wish it to be so. It is civilized, 
having famous orchards and water. It is the coolest place in 
India, and it is the most plentiful in foodstuffs; so that it used to 
be customary among the Rumes and the white people to make a 
practice of going to the kingdom of Goa to enjoy the shade and 
the groves of trees and to savour the sweet betel. There is no 
doubt that the betel in Goa is better than that anywhere else, 
mild and pleasant to the taste and highly prized, and it is usually 
from Goa that betel is exported to Aden, Ormuz and Cambay. 

It has more and better areca or avelana India^ than any other 
place. Cargoes of rice are taken from here, and great trains of 
oxen loaded with merchandise used to come in to Goa from 
very distant kingdoms in the interior. And if these things 
happened in the past, how much more reason is there to believe 
that from now on Goa will become a great port of call, greater 
than there has ever been; and the merchants will rejoice under 
our administration more than they did under the Moors. 

The kingdom of Goa always had the advantage over Chaul. It Fol. 133V. 
traded lavishly. It had many merchants of all nationalities, 
people of large means. Its trade was large. It always had a great 
many ships. It has a good port, and not only that, but it was 
especially suited to the business of raising armadas which was 
carried on there, on account of the wood and of the craftsmen, 
and also because it had plentiful supplies and was very strong, 
and because there were always a large number of white people 
living there, full of pride, and not without cause, for the kingdom 

' St. John, the writer of the Apocalypse? 

^ The nut of the Areca catechu Linn., areca-nut or betel-nut, was called by 
the Portuguese avela da India or avelana Indiae. 



of Goa lies in the heart of all India. Great festivals used to be cele- 
brated here in honour of the profane Mohammed, and these have 
now been changed to the name of Jesus Christ. The city of Goa is 
as strong as Rhodes. It has four fortresses, very richly constructed, 
in the necessary places, to injure the name of Mohammed. 

Trade. They used to bring horses to Goa from all the kingdoms in 
Arabia Petrea, from Ormuz, from Persia and from the kingdom 
of Cambay; and from Goa they were sent to the kingdoms of the 
Deccan and of Narsinga. After Goa was taken from the Moors 
Narsinga got its horses through Bhatkal. And Goa also collected 
all the merchandise of those parts and they took back calico, fine 
muslin, rice, areca, betel and many pardaos and oraos, because 
horses here are worth a great deal. A horse may be worth as 
much as eight hundred pardaos, coins worth three hundred and 
thirty-five reis each*. [Goa] used to receive many spices and 
quantities of merchandise from these other parts. 

The kingdom of Goa had a large number of ships which used 
to sail to many different places; and the Goanese ships were 
esteemed and favoured everywhere, because the Moors had all 
their power in these parts, in the kingdom of Goa. The seamen 
who sailed the ships were natives of the country, because the 
kingdom of Goa produces good seamen who can stand hard 
work. And thus with men from Goa sailing to other places, and 
people from the other places sailing to Goa, its trade was great, 
so that large revenues were derived from the dues on the 
merchandise and anchorages, and also from the land dues and 
the tanadarias. I have often heard it said that Goa and the sur- 
rounding district yielded four hundred thousand pardaos a year 
from the duties on everything that came into the port, together 
with its own products. And according to the run of things, this 
seems to be correct. 

Heathens There are a great many heathens in this kingdom of Goa, 

of this more than in the kingdom of the Deccan. Some of them are very 


* Pardaos — Popular name among the Portuguese for gold or silver coins of 
Western India worth 360 reis and 300 reis respectively. The 335 reis indicated 
by Pires as the value of the pardao in his time would correspond to about 
thirteen shillings today, with four or five times its purchasing power. Oraos — 
Coins also called horaos or oras by the Portuguese, equivalent to pagodes 
{Hobson- Jobson, s.v. Pagoda c) or gold, pardau (Dalgado, s.v. Ord). 



honoured men with large fortunes; and almost the whole king- 
dom lies in their hands, because they are natives and possess the 
land and they pay the taxes. Some of them are noblemen with 
many followers and lands of their own, and are persons of great 
repute, and wealthy, and they live on their estates, which are 
very gay and fresh. The heathens of the kingdom of Goa surpass 
those of Cambay. They have beautiful temples of their own in 
this kingdom; they have priests or Brahmans of many kinds. 

There are some very honoured stocks among these Brahmans. 

Some of them will not eat anything which has contained blood 
or anything prepared by the hand of another. These Brahmans 
are greatly revered throughout the country, particularly among 
the heathen. Like those of Cambay, the poor ones serve to take 
merchandise and letters safely through the land, because the 
rich ones rank as great lords. They are clever, prudent, learned 
in their religion. A Brahman would not become a Mohammedan 
[even] if he were made a king. 

No torment will make the people of the kingdom of Goa con- 
fess to an)rthing that they have done. They can bear a great deal, 
and when they are being tortured with different tortures they 
will die rather than confess anything they have made up their 
minds to keep to themselves. And the pretty women of Goa 
dress well, and those who dance do so better than any others in 
this part of the world. 

It is mostly the custom in this kingdom of Goa for every Fol. i34r. 
heathen wife to burn herself alive on the death of her husband. 

Among themselves they all rate this highly, and if they do not 
want to burn themselves to death their relatives are dishonoured 
and they rebuke those who are ill-disposed towards the sacrifice 
and force them to burn themselves. And those who will not 
bum themselves on any consideration become public prosti- 
tutes and earn money for the upkeep and constmction of the 
temples in their district, and they die in this way. Each of these 
heathen has one wife by law. Many Brahmans make a vow of 
chastity and keep it for ever. 

In the other ports in the kingdom they load quantities of rice, 
salt, betel and areca, in which they trade. Each of these rivers 
has towns, far from the water because they are afraid; and those 



who know them well navigate there, because if they do not know 
them well they are lost. They are under the authority of the 
^abayo, with captains who collect the revenues from the land, 
and some of them have a garrison of horsemen because they are 
constantly at war with the lands of the province of Narsinga. 


Fol. 12 5v. Now you are in the last kingdom of the First India, which is 

Kingdoms called the province of the Kanarese {Canarijsy. It is bounded on 

in the land one side by the kingdom of Goa, and by Anjediva {Amgadiva), 

ofKanara ^nd on the Other by Middle India or Malabar India. Inland is 
(terra • 

Canarjm). of Narsinga, whose language is Kanarese, which is 

different from that of the Deccan and of the kingdom of Goa. 
There are two kings along the sea-coast and a few small regions. 
They are all heathens and vassals of the king of Narsinga. They 
are a civilized people, warriors, and practised in the use of arms 
both on sea and land. The land we are now describing is the only 
one remaining to the king of Narsinga of those he possessed in 
the First India. It is a cultivated land, with important towns. 
Seaports. In the land of the Kanarese from Anjediva to Mangalore 
[there are] Mirjan (Mjrgeu), Honawar (Onor), Bhatkal (Bati- 
cala), Basrur {Bafalor), Baira Vera, Barkur (Bacanor), Vdi- 
piranF, Mangalore (Mamgallor). All these are trade ports. From 

I Canarijs or Canarins are the inhabitants of Kanara, but, according to 
Dalgado (j.®.), the Portuguese erroneously designated the people of Goa by 
this name. Dames says, without much ground, I consider, that the term is 
applied to the class we call Eurasians, and that the Anglo-Indian term Kardm 
is probably derived from Canarim. 

^ In the Lisbon MS these names read as follows: ‘mergeo batecala bacalor 
baira/ vera/ bacanor vydeperao magalu.’ 

Mjrgeu — Modern Mirjan, at the mouth of the Gangawali River, north of 
Honawar. Mergeu in Barbosa, the Portuguese chroniclers and Reinel’s map 
of c. 1517, Mergueo on Reinel’s map of c. 1518, and Mergeo on later maps. 

Onor — Honavar or Honawar. Omitted in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 
Honor in Barbosa and Onor in Portuguese chronicles and maps. 

Baticala — Bhatkal. Baticalla on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 28). 

Bacalor — Corresponds to Basrur, a village in Coondapur, or Kundapur, 
in south Kanara District, situated to the south of a large estuary into which 
three rivers run. The ruins of an old Portuguese fort are still there. Bragalor 
in Barbosa, Barcelor and Bracelor in the Portuguese chronicles and maps. 



Honawar and Mirjan to Anjediva belongs to the king of Ger- 
soppa (Garfopa) who neighbours on Goa [and is] for the king of 
Narsinga; Bhatkal, with Basnir and other inland towns, has a 
king; the other four ports have captains. They are all vassals of 
the king of Narsinga and pay their revenues to him. 

The king of Gersoppa is an important man, with many 
mounted men — up to three thousand, so they say. Gersoppa 
stretches five leagues up the Honawar river. Inland there is a 
small, cool town, where Timoja^ lives. He used to live in Hona- 
war, because he was related to the king of Gersoppa. He is often 
at the king of Narsinga’s court, and is his obedient vassal. This 
river of Honawar is thickly populated, and has ships, out of 
which Timoja made the armada with which he went pillaging 
from here to Cape Guardafui, where he took a great deal of 
booty. This Timoja was feared by the seamen and helped the 
king of Gersoppa. 

The king of Bhatkal is a Kanarese heathen and a greater king Bhatkal 
than those of Honawar and Gersoppa. His kingdom extends a 
long way inland. The port of Bhatkal comes next in importance ^ ' 
to Goa and Chaul, and has a great deal of trade. It is the port 
which serves the kingdom of Narsinga, and through which the 

Baira Vera — As Pires gives all these names in geographical order, it seems 
that Baira Vera should be between Bagalor (Basrur) and Bacanor (Barkur, on 
the Sitanadi River). But between the mouths of the Coondapur estuary and 
the Sitanadi River there is no break in the coast line that could be called a 
port. There is the small port of Baindur, at the entrance of the Baindur River, 
but that lies between Bhatkal and Basrur. Bacanor corresponds to the village 
of Barkur, on the north side of an estuary of several rivers, the more important 
being the Sitanadi on the north, and the Swarnanadi on the south. About one 
mile south of Barkur, between the two rivers, lies the village of Brahmawar, 
and it is possible that this may be Pires’ Baira Vera, perhaps the Barrauerrao 
placed by Castanheda (ii, xvi) between Bacanor and Baticald. 

Bacanor — The old village of Barkur, in Kanarese, the traditional capital of 
Taluva {Imp. Gaz. of India, s.v.) corresponds to the Malayalam Fakanur or 
Vakkanur, the Bacanor of all Portuguese chronicles and maps. 

Vdipiram — Udipi, the principal town near the river, lies inland, about 
two and a half miles from Malpe or Mulpi, which is at the entrance of Udiya- 
vara Hole (Malpe River), about thirty miles north of Mangalore. It must 
be Vdebarrdo, a ‘very large and good port’, that Castanheda (il, xvi) places 
near Mangalore. 

* Timoja was a pirate, later employed by Albuquerque who appointed him 
bailiff {Aguazit) of Goa in 1510. He proved unfaithful and before his death in 
15 1 1 joined forces with the Adil Khan. 



horses come. The city has many merchants, both heathens and 
Moors. It is a great port of call with many merchants and is a 
large port. The king is always inland. He has made Damj, a 
Chetti, governor of the heathens in his kingdom, as he has the 
most property and is a great merchant; and the governor of the 
Moorish people is Caizar, a Moorish eunuch who was a servant 
of Cojatar^, the one of Ormuz. There are Moors of all nations in 
this city, which used to be very great before the capture of Goa 
by the Captain General, and which is now already of less 

Bhatkal used to be the most important of all the ports in the 
kingdoms of Kanara, on account of its many merchants, and 
many horses from all parts were landed here, and much other 
merchandise. These horses were bought for the kingdom of 
Narsinga, and heavy dues were paid on them. The merchants 
returned from this land of Kanara with quantities of the best 
rice there is in this part of the world, that is giragal which is the 
finest and whitest and most expensive and considered the best; 
after this comes chambafal and after chamba^al comes the 
pacharil from Goa and the kingdom of the Deccan^. They also 
took back iron and a great deal of sugar which there is in this 
country, and many sugar preserves which are made in Bhatkal; 
these [were products] of the land. And many of the merchants 
from Malabar used to go there so that its trade was of great 
account. This is the most important possession the king of 
Narsinga has in Kanara. 

As for Baira Vera, Barkur, Vdipiram and Mangalore, they are 
all ports for ships and merchants, who trade with Cambay and 
with the kingdoms of Goa and the Deccan and Ormuz, taking 
the products of the country and bringing others [in exchange]. 
There are important captains in these ports, with garrisons of 
Fol. i26r. men. Their revenues are paid to the king of Narsinga. ] The 
king derives large revenues from this country of Kanara, both 
from the seaports and from the land, and he has fortresses, such 

* Cqjatar or Coje A tar — Khwaja Attar, wazir of Ormuz under the Sheikh 

2 Many early Portuguese writers refer to these three kinds of Indian rice. 
Pires’ description is very accurate. Dalgado (^.z). Arroz) deals at length with 
the several kinds of rice in India. 



as they use, on the sea coast, but the most powerful fortresses 
are formed by the mouths of the rivers. The whole country is 
well cultivated, large, and good. It is very productive and has 
many people, both mounted and on foot. It has much betel and 
areca. The Kanara country has many large and important pray- 
ing temples. There are many Brahmans of different kinds and 
orders, some of them chaste and some of them not. They are 
in the habit of burning the women as they do in the kingdom of 
Goa in the same way as is told of the other heathen. 

These provinces are [as follows]: Dacanis of the kingdom of 
the Deccan; Konkani of the kingdom of Goa; Kanarese of the 
kingdom of Narsinga. Each one has its own separate origin. And 
because these lands belong to the king of Narsinga, I decided to 
deal with the kingdom of Narsinga here, as it would have been 
as convenient to talk about him when describing the Choro- 
mandel coast, where he is a greater lord. And because he rules 
here I will say a little now and I will tell the rest when I am 
describing Choromandel. 


The kingdom of Narsinga^ is large and very important. It is 
bordered on one side by the kingdom of the Deccan and Goa, 
and that part is Kanarese, the chief city of which is Vijayanagar 
(Bizanaguar), where the king is in residence. On the Ganges 
side, where the river flows into the sea it marches with part of 
the dominions of the kingdom of Bengal and with the kingdom of 
Orissa, and inland it is bounded by the mountains of Delhi and 

’ Narsinga, Bisnagar or Bisnaga, is the name applied by the Portuguese — 
as similar forms were applied by many other Europeans after them, such as 
Beejanugger, Bidjanagar, Bichenegher or Bijanagher — in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries to a large kingdom in Southern India. Bisnagar or 
Bisnaga is a corruption of Vijayanagara, the name of a dynasty that reigned 
until about 1487. The capital of the kingdom was the city of Vijayanagar, 
founded in 1336, the ruins of which still exist in the Bellary District, Madras, 
preserved by the British Government. In 1487 the dynasty of Vijayanagar 
was replaced by Narasinha, a prince who reigned till 1508. When the Portu- 
guese first arrived in India they called that part of the country the kingdom of 
Narsinga, a name derived from that of its actual ruler. 

64 TOlVli PIRES 

on the ocean side by the provinces of Malabar and Choromandel 
and Benua Quilim}. 

In older times the kingdom of Narsingawas much greater than 
it is now and embraced almost the whole of the Deccan as far as 
Bengal, including Orissa and all the maritime provinces. Now it 
is not so big because^ the Deccan, Goa, Malabar and Orissa have 
[each a] king; but still it is large. With the exception of the 
kingdom of Delhi, this is the largest province in these parts, 
and, they say, in India. 

The king is a heathen of Kanara, and on the other hand he 
is a Kling; in his courts the language is mixed, but his natural 
speech is Kanarese. This King is a warrior and he often goes 
into the field with more than forty thousand mounted men and a 
large number on foot. He must have five hundred elephants, two 
hundred of which are for war^. He is always at war, sometimes 
with Orissa, sometimes with the Deccan and sometimes inside 
his own country. He has great captains and many mercenaries. 
When he rests it is in Vijaynagar, a city of twenty thousand in- 
habitantss, which lies between two mountain ranges. The houses 
there are not usually very much ornamented. The king’s houses 
or palaces are large and well built, and the king has a good 
following of noblemen and horsemen. He has great lords with 

^ Choromandel was the designation generally given by the Portuguese to 
the east coast of India, from Ceylon northwards to the Kistna River in the 
present Madras Residency. According to Dalgado (i, 313; ii, 484) the right 
spelling is Choromandel, as written by Pires and Barbosa (though the latter 
prefers Choramdndel and Yule Coromandel), the ch being pronounced as in 
‘church’. Pires does not give a special description of Choromandel anywhere 
in the Suma. Further on, dealing with Bengal he mentions five ports, from 
Cultarey (Nellore?) to Negapatam, ‘all these ports in the Bonuaquelim, land of 
Narsinga’. See note p. 92. Dealing with the Malacca trade he refers to 
twelve ‘ports of the coast of Choromandel’ from Caile (Old Kayal) to Pulicat. 
See notes pp. 81 and 271-2. However, in his letter of 27 Jan. 1516, Pires says 
that 'Choromandell is from the shoals (of Child.) to Cunjmeyra (Pondicherry)’. 

^ In the Paris MS this word reads que (that); but in the Lisbon MS it is 
porque (because), and similarly in Ramusio. The transcriber of the Paris MS 
left out the/)or oi porque, making the sentence unintelligible. 

3 The Paris MS has arte (art). But the Lisbon MS says corte (court), and 
similarly in Ramusio. 

* The Lisbon MS says 300,000 mounted men and 800 elephants. Ramusio 
agrees with the Paris MS. 

5 The Lisbon MS says 50,000 inhabitants. Ramusio agrees with the Paris 



him and he is held in great respect. There are a thousand girl 
entertainers in his court, and four or five thousand men of the 
same profession. These are Klings and not Kanarese, because 
the natives of this province of Kalinga {TalingoY are more 
graceful and more apt in mimicry than those of other parts. 

Many of these people are scattered from here all over the three 
Indias, and I will tell more about them in the description of his 
other dominion. 

As the First India ends at Mangalore in the land of Kanarese, Middle 
you are now entering into the Second or Middle India, which 
begins at Manjeshwaram {Mayciram), the first port in Malabar, 
and ends at the river Ganges on the Bengal frontier. And the 
present account of this land will be divided into two parts: in the 
first part you will be told about the land of Malabar, how large 
it is, how many ports it has where there are ships, how many 
kings it has, what customs the people have, and who is the chief 
person in the province, and you will also be told about the trade 
in Malabar and about the number of ships there are there. 

In the second part^ you will hear about the king of Narsinga 
and his country, about the people with whom he fights, what 
horsemen he has, and something about his habits, and also the 
extent of the kingdom, with some account of the trade there is 
in his ports also. 

And then we must deal with the kingdom of Orissa or Odia^, Fol. i26v. 
and our Second or Middle India will have been as far as possible 


The province of Malabar begins at Manjeshwaram {May- Province 
cera), a port belonging to the king of Bisnagar, which neighbours 

* Talingo, Telinga, Telingana or Kalinga, is a group of Telugu-speaking 
people of Dravidian race from Southern India. According to Yule (Hobson- 
Jobson) Kalinga is a very ancient name for the Telugu coast of the Bay of 
Bengal, i.e., that coast which lies between the Kistna and Mahanadi rivers. 

^ This is one of the many confusions in the division of the Suma; actually 
Narsinga had just been described, before Malabar. 

^ Orixa or Orissa, corresponding to the vernacular Odisa, whence Odia, as 
in this case, must not be confused with Ayuthia, which was written also as 
Odia by Fires and other sixteenth-century Portuguese writers. See note p. 103. 

H.C.S. I. 









The faith 



Mangalore in the land of Kanarese belonging to the king of 
Narsinga, and it ends at Cape Comorin in the king of Quilon’s 
land, which borders on the province of Kalinga in the said 
kingdom of Narsinga. Inland the whole of this country is 
surrounded by mountains which divide it from the said kingdom 
of Narsinga. This country must extend from a hundred and ten 
to a hundred and twenty leagues along the coast, and inland 
to the mountains it is about five leagues wide in some places and 
fifteen in others, and so it goes on without getting narrower or 

These lands are so high that they do not allow the north-east 
and east winds to penetrate to the Indian coast, nor on the other 
hand do the south-west and west winds blow in the kingdom of 
Narsinga — that is, if you are coming from Ceylon to the coast of 
India with fresh winds blowing from the above [quarters], they 
cease blowing when you reach the Choromandel coast. You set 
out with the west winds, and as soon as you enter the Ceylon 
channel they stop blowing. Whence it follows that since Malabar 
is lacking in dry winds it is fresh and gracious, while the pro- 
vince of Choromandel, which lacks wet winds, is sterile, without 
a single tree, large or small, as I shall tell in more detail when I 
describe it. Enough of this. 

The whole of Malabar believes, as we do, in the Trinity of 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three in one, the only true God*. 
From Cambay to Bengal all the people hold this [faith], as I will 
tell in more detail in the description of the land where St. 
Thomas the Apostle lies. 

I ought not to enter into an account of Malabar, which is 
already so well known to Your Highness, since you have three 
beautiful, large and important fortresses there, that is, that of 
Calicut, that of Cochin with a very large gateway made entirely 

^ Dames (i, 115; ii, 37) says that the ‘Trinity’ described by Barbosa is 
related to the Hindu Trimurtti or the three-fold god of Brahma with Vishnu 
and Siva. When describing Cambay, Castro (p. 1 14) says that it ‘is inhabited 
by a people called Guzarates . . . among whom there are some men, like 
philosophers and religious men, who are called Bramenes, who believe in the 
Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and many other things of our very 
sacred law’. Barros (i, iv, 9; ii, v, i) also refers to the Brahman ‘Trinity’ but 
remarks that it is ‘very different’ from the Christian Trinity, and is also rejected 
by the Mohammedans. 



of lime of cockle-shells, and that of Cannanore which is well 
situated with a good moat; but, to keep to the promised order I 
will mention everything in this voyage. 

The people of Malabar are black and some of them dark 
brown. All the kings are Brahmans, which is the caste of their 
priests. The language is almost the same [throughout the 
country]. They differ in very little, as is the case in Italy. The 
whole country is thickly populated. There must be a hundred 
and fifty thousand Nayars {Nairesy in Malabar. They are 
fighters, with sword and buckler, and archers. They are men 
who adore their king, and if by chance the king dies in battle 
they are obliged to die, and if they do not they go against the 
custom of their country and they are made a reproach for ever. 
The Nayars are loyal and not traitors. Before a king of Malabar 
fights with another, he has first to let him know, so that he may 
prepare himself. That is their custom. No Nayar, when he is fit 
to take up arms, can go outside his house unarmed even if he be 
a hundred years old, and when he is dying he always has his 
sword and buckler by him, so close that if necessary he can take 
hold of them. They always make a deep reverence to the 
masters who teach them, so much so that if the best of the 
Nayars were to meet a Mukkuvan {MacuaY who happened to 
have taught him something, he would make him a reverence and 
then go and wash himself. If a Nayar meets another older than 
himself on the road, he does him reverence and gives place to 
him. If there were two, three or four brothers, the oldest would 
have to be seated while the others remained standing. 

And because the chief people of Malabar are the Brahmans, 
from whom the kings are descended, and who are more noble by 
reason of their priesthood, I will talk about them first and after- 
wards about the Nayars and the other castes. 

* The Naires were aborigines of South-Western India, where they formed 
the noble and military caste corresponding to the Kshatriyas, second in 
importance to the Brahmans. At present, ‘Nair or Nayar is a title added to 
nearly all the names of the race, and it is, like Mister or Esquire, assumed as a 
birthright by any respectable member of the race who has no other’. Balfour, 
The Cyclopaedia of India, s.v. 

^ A caste name applied to the fishermen of Malabar coast, from the 
Dravidian mukkuha, ‘to dive’. Mukkuvan is the name generally used, but 
Mucua (in the plural Mucuar) is also frequently met with. 



Fol i2jr. Brahmans are priests who wear a cord hanging from the left 
shoulder and under the right arm^ This cord is composed of 
twenty-seven threads, made in three. The best of this people are 
the Kshatriyas {Chatrias)\ then come the Pattars (Patadares) and 
after these the Nambutiris (Nambuderis), and lowest of all come 
the Nambutiris {Namhurisy. These Brahmans are of very 
ancient birth. They are of purer blood than the Nayars. It is 
their duty to be in the turucois^ praying. They are well versed 
in the things of their faith. The most important of these Brah- 
mans are with the king of Malabar. They are men who do not 
eat anything which has been living [flesh and] blood; and for 
this reason the ancients said of them that no person in Malabar 
should have the power to eat beef on pain of death, and that this 
would be a great sin. The reason must be because the Brahman 
women ate the milk and afterwards refused the meat, whence 
comes the great esteem in which cows are held, for in many 
heathen places the cow is worshipped as a sacred thing. These 
Brahmans have the power of excommunication and absolution. 
None of them bears arms or goes to war; nor are they ever put to 
death for any reason whatever. They go freely wherever they 
like, even if there is war. 

Many people in Malabar, Nayars as well as Brahmans and 
their wives — in fact about a quarter or a fifth of the total popula- 
tion, including the people of the lowest castes — have very large 
legs, swollen to a great size; and they die of this, and it is an ugly 
thing to see. They say that this is due to the water through 
which they go, because the country is marshy. This is called 

* This sacred thread, called is always worn by Brahmans. 

* ‘A few of the princely families of Malabar claim to be pure Kshatriyas . . . 
Racially, no doubt, Kshatriyas were originally Nayars’. C. A. Innes, Malabar 
Gazetter, p. 112, Madras, 1908. The Kshatriyas are immediately below the 
Brahmans in the caste hierarchy. The generic name for the Malabar Brahman 
is Nambiidiri. In addition to the NambUdiris — who are mostly landlords, and 
are polluted by the touch of all castes below them, and by the approach of all 
lower than Nayars — ^there are two other classes of Brahmans, called Pattars 
and Embrdndiris. The two forms namhudiri and namburi are both Malayalam 
for Nambutiri. Pires’ remarks are rather confusing, though he is not far from 
the truth. 

3 Turucol, Turicol or Turcol — Temple or pagoda in Malabar, according to 
Dalgado, s.v. But Gdis (i, Ixxxix, cxii) says — ‘a Turcol, which are houses of 
prayer, where live religious men, as friars among us’, suggesting a monastery. 



pericaes in the native language, and all the swelling is the same 
from the knees downward, and they have no pain, nor do they 
take any notice of this infirmity ^ 

In Malabar it is the custom for the woman to have her eyes on 
the bed during the act of coition and for the man to have his on 
the ceiling, and this is the general practice among great and 
small, and they consider anything else to be strange and foreign 
to their condition, and some Portuguese used^ to the country 
do not find this ugly. 

When they are ill the patients do not eat meat; and have a diet Malabar 
of fish alone. The chief remedy is to play the kettle-drum and 
other instruments to the patients for two or three days — and they 
say this does good. If they have fever they eat fish and keep 
washing themselves; if they vomit they wash their heads with 
cold water and it is good, and it stops; and if they have a catarrh 
they drink lanha water — lanha is the young coconut — and it 
stops at once; if they want to purge themselves they take the 
crushed leaves, or the juice or the seeds of the figueira do 
inferno^ y and they are well purged, and they wash themselves; if 
they are badly wounded, they let warm coconut oil run over the 
wound twice a day for an hour or two, and they are cured. Our 
people when they have fevers eat fat chickens and drink wine 
and are cured. This happens to many, but those who go on a 
diet are used up. 

What is considered in Malabar to be the worst thing you can Affronts 


‘ Perical or Panicale — From the Malayalam perikkal, ‘big leg’ — elephan- Malabar. 
tiasis; also commonly called ‘Cochin leg’ or ‘St. Thomas’s leg’ in India. 

* Though in the Paris MS it is written trosnados (a meaningless word), the 
Lisbon MS has custumados, and Ramusio translated accordingly. 

^ Although several Portuguese-English dictionaries refer to Figueira do 
inferno as Palma Christ! or castor-oil plant, this is incorrect. The Palma 
Christ! or Castor-oil is Ricinus communis Linn., and the Figueira do inferno is 
Datura Stramonium Linn. Both plants are found in Portugal as well as in 
India, and though they belong to distant families, there is some sort of 
resemblance between them. The Datura, whose effects were so picturesquely 
described by Garcia da Orta (xx) in 1563, is sometimes mixed in India with 
intoxicants, which thereby become ‘most reprehensible and even dangerous 
to life. Moreover, the seeds are known to enter into the composition of certain 
alcoholic beverages and render the consumers of these literally mad’. Watt, 
p. 488. Pii>es undoubtedly refers to Ricinus communis, though it seems rather 
strange that he should mistake one plant for the other. 



Fol. I2yv. 

Custom of 
the Kings 


do to anyone to whom you bear ill-will is to break a new sauce- 
pan at his door. This is a great insult. Or if you pass along the 
street and throw it so that it breaks against that person, that is 
worse. These things mean death for the man who does them, 
and anyone who lets them pass is for ever dishonoured. 

The kings of Malabar are all Brahmans with these threads, 
some of them of more noble birth than others; because it is the 
custom in Malabar that the king’s son does not succeed to the 
kingdom, but his brother or nephew; and because they are 
Brahmans and cannot marry Nayars, since that is forbidden, 
they choose the most honoured Brahmans of that generation to 
mate with the [king’s] sisters, so that the eldest [son] may 
succeed; and thus the Brahmans sleep with the king’s sisters 
and from them come the kings of Malabar. As the king of 
Cochin is of pure blood and there is no one on earth whom he 
can marry, if there are Brahman Patamares of Cambay — who 
were related of old to the Brahman king, who was once held to 
be a saint — these are chosen for the act of generation; and if 
there are more they take the noblest Brahmans in the land. They 
say that this has been their custom for thirty thousand years. 

The kings of Malabar marry as often as they like; and after 
they have had the women they give them in marriage, according 
to the custom of the country, to important people. The king’s 
sons are Nayars like the others. They do not inherit anything. 
Many of the kings marry for dowries and sometimes they keep 
them until their death. If any king of Malabar wants the wife of 
one of the most honourable men of his kingdom, who are the 
Kaimals {Caimaes), she comes willingly, and these Kaimals are 
greatly honoured ^ Often the great lords give money to the 
Patamares to deflower their wives, and the Patamares argue 
about the price. 

All the Brahmans are married. Their sons inherit their pro- 
perty. The Brahman women are chaste and do not lie with any 

* Caimal or Kaimal — Duarte Barbosa says: ‘certain earls (condes) whom 
they call Cahimal’. Dames (ii, 13) translated condes more generally as ‘nobles’. 
According to Dalgado (i, 172), sometimes it is the ordinary mode of address 
employed by the low classes when speaking to some Nayar or an individual of 
the military caste in Malabar. Further on Fires refers again to the Caimaes in 
more detail (pp. 81-2). 



man but their husbands; and the Brahman woman always 
remains a Brahman and her children are of unmixed race. A 
Brahman woman must not sleep with a Nayar man, but a Nayar 
woman may sleep with a Brahman man at wilb. 

None of the Nayars have either father or son. They do not Nayars of 
marry. The more lovers a Nayar woman has, the more impor- 
tant she is. So if a Nayar woman has a daughter, or two or three, 
she chooses a Nayar for her while she is a virgin, and he 
marries her. For the deflowering they make a feast, for which 
the Nayar pays according to his means; and he stays with her for 
four days, and as a sign that he has deflowered her he places a 
small piece of gold round her neck, worth about thirty reis, 
called quete^. This man goes, and other Nayars come; and they 
arrange among themselves — one gives her one thing, and one 
another, and the more she has the more honoured she is. And 
the Nayars are also put to expense with other women. For the 
most part the Nayars do not eat in the women’s houses. And 
that is why no Nayar has ever had father or son, because each 
woman has from two to ten known [lovers], which is accounted 
a merit in her. There are also Nayars who sell oil and fish, and 
many are craftsmen. 

If any Pulayan (poleaa) touches a Nayar woman with his hand 
or with a stone when she is out of her house, he runs the risk of 
being killed or sold, and if he touches her when she is walking 
with a Nayar she is not contaminated. This is done so that they 
shall not seek the company of people of low condition. If he who 
touches her is caught, he dies for this crime. The Nayar women 
of Malabar have no virtue, nor do they sew or work, but only eat 
and amuse themselves. 

* The Paris and Lisbon MSS agree in this sentence. But Ramusio’s trans- 
lation, which I follow here, seems more correct than the two Portuguese 

^ According to the Lisbon MS, which, as well as Ramusio, calls it also 
quete. Many sixteenth-century writers describe this marriage ceremony and 
this ornament, but no one else calls it quete. Some of them call it tali or tale. 

Dalgado records quete as meaning in Ceylon a handful or small portion. 

However, the Talikettu or Tali-kettu Kalyanam is the name given among 
the Nayars and some other Malayalam castes to the marriage ceremony gone 
through by girls, much on the lines described by Pires. Iyer, The Cochin 
Tribes and Castes, ii, 22-8; Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, s.v. 



Families In Malabar a son cannot be more important than his father, 
h ^ Brahman woman can; and a Nayar is 

a Nayar, and in all the crafts, and among jesters, singers 
and sorcerers, the son has to follow his father’s profession. 

The lowest caste are the Parayans (pareos) who eat cows’ flesh. 
They are lettered men and sorcerers. The Pulayans work in the 
fields and so do the Vettuvans {heitudas)\ the Vannathamars 
{mainates) are washermen; the Yravas are stone-masons; the 
Pulayans play music in the turucoes or at feasts; the Canjares 
dance in the temples and pagodas; the Mukkuvans are fisher- 
men; the Kaniyans (canacos) make salt; and in addition to these 
there are carpenters, goldsmiths and craftsmen of all kinds; and 
then there are the Irava men who make the wine^ None of these 
may go along the roads frequented by the Nayars, and they all 
keep away from them on pain of death; and in case of need — 
such as war or sickness — and in fencing and jousts for sword and 
lance, the Nayars and the king may touch them, and wash them- 
selves and be clean; and if a Nayar needs any thing from these 
people, it is not a sin for him to deal with them if it is for his own 
benefit. In all these castes the son inherits his father’s property, 
and each man is married to one woman. 

I will not enter into further details about this province, which 
is full of idolatry and witchcraft and other very heathen prac- 
tices, because you already know about the conditions there, and 
because it is not a subject which comes within the scope of this 

Fol. i28r. There are cobras de capello in this province and also breath- 
Snakes. snakes {cobras de bafoy. The cobras de capello are small and black, 

’ Barbosa mentions eighteen different castes of Malabar, which Dames 
(ii, 71) assembles in a table, comparing the names given by him with those 
in Ramusio’s translation and the Spanish, together with the modern forms. 
The Yravas and Canjares are not among them, unless the latter are either the 
Chaliyans, weavers, referred to by Barbosa as Caletis, or the Kusavans, 
potters, referred to as Cuiavem. Although the Yravas or Jrauaas are men- 
tioned as masons and wine-makers, Dalgado {s.v. Iravd) quotes them only under 
the latter craft. Barbosa refers to the Poleas, Poleahs or Pulayans as rice tillers 
only, to the Betunes or Vettuvans as salt-makers, and to the Canaquas or 
Kaniyan as astrologers. 

^ These ‘breath-snakes’ cannot be identified. They must be a product of 
the natives’ imagination, and Pires says quite honestly that he had never seen 



as thick as your thumb and three or four spans long. They have 
fangs, and the loose skin on their heads makes a kind of covering 
called a hood (capello) when they raise them. If these snakes 
bite, they kill at once. They say that the breath-snakes are the 
same length and as thick as a man’s wrist, without hoods, and 
that their breath alone is deadly. I have never met a man who 
has seen one. Both heathen and Mohammedan sorcerers take 
the cobras about in jars, and by making a certain noise they 
make the snakes move about on the ground, and when they say 
certain words to them they take them fearlessly in their hands; 
but if by chance the snakes do bite them, they die. The sorcerers 
catch these [snakes] wild in the jungle and charm them. 

The Nayars and the Brahmans are forbidden by law to kill 
cobras, which they say are holy things, and they have special 
places for them in their gardens, where they give them cooked 

There are fifteen thousand Christians in this province of Christians 
Malabar, dating back to the time of St. Thomas the Apostle. 

Two thousand of these are men of repute, noblemen, merchants, 
estimable people, and the others are craftsmen, poor people. 

They are privileged and are allowed to touch the Nayars. These 
Christians live in the district from Chetwayi {Chetua) to Quilon 
(Coulam). Outside this area there are none of the early Christians 
— I do not refer to those who have been converted in Your 
Highness’ time, nor to those who are now being converted 
every day, and who are numerous. 

In one part of this land of Malabar there are large rivers, deep Malabar 
in some places and shallow in others, which make it strong, and 
where they fish, where they can go in large tones, to wit, from ^^g 
Ponnani {Panane) to Quilon. The other part of Malabar is dry rivers. 
and easy to travel over by land; but in this part [you have to go] 
in tones catures^. 

Going from Mangalore to Comorin, the following are the 
kings in the province of Malabar: the king of Bangor, the king of 

^ Tone or tona is a small boat with a sail and oars, used in Southern India. 

Catur is also a long narrow boat much used in India in old times. It seems 
probable that the modern English ‘cutter’ is derived from catur. Fires gives 
more particulars about this craft, further on, and always uses the two names 
together, apparently to represent a single craft. 



Sea ports 
in this 

Cota}., the king of Cannanore, the king of Calicut, the king of 
Tanore [Tanor), the king of Kranganur {Cramganor), the king of 
Cochin, the king of Kayankulam {Caya Coulatn), the king of 
Quilon {Coulam), the king of Travancore, the king of Comorin. 
There are great Kaimals in this country, some of whom are 
greater than many of these kings, though they have not the title 
of king. Some of them are Brahmans and some of them Nayars. 
The king who has the most land and the most people is the king 
of Quilon; the one who has more nobility is the king of Cochin; 
the king of Calicut has the greatest title. After Quilon in inhabi- 
tants comes Cannanore, and after Cannanore comes Kayan- 
kulam. The men of Calicut are the best fighters. 

The following are the inhabited seaports in this province 
where there are ships: Manjeshwaram {Mayceram), Mayporam, 
Kumbla {Combuld), Kattakulam {Coty Coulam), Nileshweram 
(Njliporam), Hyeri, Baliapatam {Balea Patanam), Cannanore, 
Durmapatan {Tarmapatam), Madayid {Marlarjanj), Chomba- 
kulu (Combaa), Puthupattanam (Pudopatanam), Tricodi {Tiri- 
corij), Bairacono, Kollam {Coulam), which they call Pantalayini 
{Pamdaranj), Kappatta (Capocar), Calicut, Chaliyam {Chaliaa), 
Parappanangadi {Para Purancorj), Tanore {Tanor), Ponnani 
{Panane), Veleankode {Bely Ancoro), Chetwayi {Chetua), Kran- 
ganur {Cramganor), Cochin, Kayankulam {Caya Coulam), Quilon 
{Coulam), Vilinjam {Bilinjao), Comorin^. 

' Bangar — Bemgar in the Lisbon MS. Probably Bandadkar, inland, be- 
tween Mangalore and Cannanore. COTA — Probably Kottayam, the district 
east of Cannanore. 

2 In the Lisbon MS these names read as follows: ‘mai 9 eram/ maiporam/ 
combula/ cotecoulao nilixorao/ eriballcaa/ patanam/ cananor tumapatam/ 
murlariom/ combaa/ pudy patanam/ tericori/ baicarom/ coulao a q chamao 
pamdarane capocar/ calequiu chale/ parapuraocole / tanor/ panane/ beti- 
amcor/ chatuaa/ chamganor cochym caicoulao/ coulao/ belurgam & o 

Mayceram — Probably Manjeshvar or Manjeshwaram, nine miles south- 
south-westward of Mangalore; the Mangeiram placed by Barros (i, ix, i) 
between Mangalore and Kumbla (Cumbata). It appears as Mamgesirao and 
Magicera on several sixteenth-century Portuguese maps. 

Mayporam — No place can now be found between Manjeshwaram and 
Kumbla which could be called a port, the coast being unbroken, flat, and a 
continuous coconut palm grove. 

Combula — Kumbla, seven and a half miles from Manjeshwaram; Cumbola 
in Barbosa, Cumbata in Barros. 



There must be about four hundred cargo boats in the king- 
dom of Malabar, in the kingdoms and ports we have just 

CoTY COULAM — Kattakulam, a modem place in South Kanara, according to 
Dames, ii, 79. Cotecolam in Barbosa, Cota-Coulao in Barros. 

Njliporam — It may be ‘represented today by the village of Nileshwar or 
Nileshweram, south of Kasaragod’, as suggested by Cordier. Cathay and the 
Way Thither, iv, 74. Minaporam in Barbosa, Nilichildo in Barros. 

Hyeri — A place that existed in the bay south of Mount Dely, or Jelly Baud. 
It corresponds to Marco Polo’s Eli, a name that Yule says survives ‘in that of 
Mount Dely, properly Monte d’Ely, the Yeli-mala'. Marco Polo, III, xxiv. 
On the map of c. 1510 it appears as ely. On Rodrigues’ map (fol. 28) it is 
recorded as momte dally, and the Livro de Marinharia (p. 224) says that mdte 
dEly is five leagues from Cannanore. 

Balea patanam — Baliapatam, Valarpattanam or Azhikkal, a small town and 
port on the south bank of the river of the same name, five miles north of 
Cannanore. Balaerpatam in Barbosa, Bolepatan in Barros and Baleapatao on 
some Portuguese maps. 

Tarmapatam — Durmapatan or Dharmapatna, seven miles south-west of 
Cannanore. Tremapatam in Barros and on Rodrigues’ map. 

Marlarjanj — Perhaps the Maranel of Barbosa and the Marabia of Barros, 
Correia and the Portuguese maps, which Dames (ii, 79) identifies with ‘the 
place known as Madayid (also called Pazhayangadi)’. 

CoMBAA — Chombakulu, a little port two and a half miles south-east of 
Mah6, the French settlement at the mouth of the river of the same name. 

PliDOPATANAM — Puthupanam or Puthupattanam, on the Kotta River. 
Pedirpatam in Barbosa, Puripatan in Barros. 

Tiricorij — Tricodi. Tircore in Barbosa. 

Bairacono — A place which no longer exists, possibly on the small bay 
between Kadalur Point and Vellarakkad, a hillock one and two-thirds miles 

CouLAM — Pamdaranj — Coulam is the small port Kollam, about three miles 
from Kadalur Point, and Pamdaranj is Pandalayini, a place near Kollam. 
Pandanare in Barbosa, Pandarane in the chronicles. Perhaps it is the paudacar 
on the map of c. 1510. It appears as ilheos de pamdarane on Rodrigues’ map. 
In the Livro de Marinharia it is said that Pamderanne is five leagues from 
Tramapatdo. Pandarani is already recorded on Reinel’s maps of c. 1517 and 
c. 1518. 

Capocar — Must correspond to the small port of Kappatta, between Kollam 
and Calicut. Capucate in Barbosa, Capocate in the chronicles. 

Chaliaa — Chaliyam, a place at the entrance of the Chalium or Chaliyar 
River, where the Portuguese had a fortress, four and a half miles south-south- 
east of Calicut Creek or Kallayi River. Chiliate in Barbosa, Chdla in 

Para purancorj — Parappanangadi, the small port eight and a half miles 
southwards. Propriamguary in Barbosa, Parangale in the chronicles. 

Tanor — Tanore, Tanur or Tanniydrnagaram, four and a half miles further 

Bely ANCORO — Veleankode or Velijangod, at the entrance of the Kannira- 
mukker River, four miles south-east of Ponnani. Baleancor in Barros. 



described. Some of these are large and some small; they are 
ladas^ ships of shallow draught^ with flat bottoms, which will take 
heavy loads and draw less water than ships with keels. They are 
made like this because the Malabar people usually sail along the 
province of Kalinga, which includes the district from Comorin 
to Pulicat {Paleacate). As there is a channel between this land 
and Ceylon, where the water in the middle is only a fathom and 
a half deep at low tide, and which is called the shoals of Chilam 
{Baixos ChilamY, they had to make ladas. That is the reason why 
these people do not sail on the high seas, except in fear and 
trembling. They have still other small ships, which they call 
pagueres^ and which take as much cargo as caravels. 

Where the The whole of this province is lacking in rice, and it hardly pro- 
duces any. In the district from Tanore to Manjeshwaram the rice 
comes from Goa and Narsinga on the Kanarese side. This rice is 
cold and can be used as far as Tanore. From Tanore to Quilon 

Chetua — Chetwayi, a modern town on an island within the mouth of the 
river of the same name. Chatua in Barbosa and the chronicles. 

Cramganor — Cranganor, Cranganur or Kranganur. 

Caya coulam — Kayankulam, about fifty miles south-south-east of Cochin. 
Cale Coilam in Barbosa, Caecoulam, Cale Coulao and Caicouldo in the 
chronicles and maps. 

Bilinjao — Vilinjam, about forty miles south-east of Kayankulam. 
Berinjam in Barros, Brintgao, Brijao and Brimgiam on some maps. 

' Lada was an old Portuguese word to designate a river bank or ‘water way 
along which ships, or any other vessels (that were then indiflferently called 
ships) could sail’. Cf. Viterbo, Elucidario, s.v. Lada. Pires’ naos ladas may 
mean in this case naus depouco calado (ships of shallow draught). 

^ Baixos de Chilam or Chilao was the name given by the Portuguese to the 
shifting sandbanks, with intricate channels, now known as Adam’s Bridge, 
between Mannari island, off the west coast of Ceylon, and Pamban island, off 
the Indian coast. When referring to os baixos de ChildOy the Livro de Mari- 
nharia (p. 231) mentions ‘the sandy Chilao point’ which lies west-south- 
westward, when coming from the north; this corresponds to Chultram point, 
on the eastern end of Pamban island, now the terminus of the South Indian 
Railway. The passage through the baixos de Chilao was near this point, where 
the water is not so shallow. There is, however, on the western coast of Ceylon, 
though rather more to the south, the conspicuous point and port of Chilaw, 
which the Portuguese designated first as Celabao or Celauam, and later as 
Chilam or Chilao, obviously connected with the name of the baixos. Barros 
(ill, ii, i) and Couto (v, i, 7) say, erroneously, that from the baixos de Chilao 
came the name of Ceilao to the island. (See note on Ceylon, p. 85.) 

3 Ancient cargo boats in Southern India, often mentioned by the 
chroniclers. Dalgado, s.v. Paguel. 



they get their rice from the province of Kalinga by Choromandel. 

This rice is hot and is used up to Tanore whence it appears that 
where the Choromandel rice is used, that from Goa and the 
Kanarese is of no value, and on the other hand where the Kanarese 
isused, the other rice is worth a third part less or only half as much. 

The ports of Manjeshwaram and Mayporam belong to the Fol. i28v. 
king of Bandadkar Malabar begins here and this king is 

a neighbour of the Kanarese. It is a land with plenty of rice and tion of the 
plenty of fish. Although the people of this kingdom are few in ports 
number, they are warlike. They are great archers, and they use 
arrows with long and wide heads. They defend their country and 
sometimes make war on the Kanarese. It is a small kingdom. 

These two seaports have a few ships and some inhabited places, 
and they trade with those of this province. 

The king of Kottayam has no seaport; all his power is on land. The king 
It is a kingdom like the one described above. It is at war with of Kotta- 
Cannanore. He mints coins against the will of the kings of^^”*' 
Malabar and fears none of them. He and the king of Cannanore 
are great enemies. His people and his land are strong, and it is 
from here that the Cotafanoes^ come. 

The ports of Kumbla, Kattakulam, Nileshweram, Hyeri, Kingdom 
Baliapatam, Cannanore, Durmapatan and Madayid belong to Ganna- 
the king of Cannanore. All these ports are unimportant, except 
the port of Cannanore which is large, noble and important. This 
kingdom of Cannanore is large and has a large city and much 
trade and many people. The land is good; there is good air and 
good water; there are many Moors. The city of Cannanore has 
many wealthy merchants. If Your Highness had not taken this 
kingdom under your rule, it would be Moorish by now, because 
a certain Mamalle Mercar^ was beginning to be very powerful. 

There are a great many musketeers in this country, bowmen and 

* Cota fandes means ‘fandes from Kottayam’. The fanao was a small coin 
formerly used in Southern India, worth between twenty and forty reis, and of 
an average weight equivalent to six grains of gold. 

^ Mamalle or Mamale is a contraction of Mohammed Ali. Cf. David Lopes, 

Historia dos Portugueses no Malabar por Zinadim, p. 69 n. Mercar is the 
Mercaire that Pyrard de Laval says means ‘lieutenant or viceroy’. Voyage i, 

350. According to Dalgado (j.z;.) Mercar or Marcar, from the Malayalam 
marakkdn, means a pilot or helmsman, or figuratively a chief or commandant. 

Many contemporary documents and chronicles refer extensively, between 






Nayars with sword and dagger. The king is a Brahman with a very 
long beard, which is the sign of a Moor rather than of a heathen 
priest of Malabar. 

The ports of Chombakulu, Puthupattanam, Tricodi, Panta- 
layini, Kappatta, Calicut, Chaliyam and Parappanangadi belong 
to the kingdom of Calicut. They are small ports. All these have 
ships and merchants and good towns. The king of Calicut is 
called the Zamorin, that is Lord of all the people of Malabar. 
This kingdom is bounded on one side by Cannanore and on the 
other by Tanore, that is by these kingdoms. The port of Calicut 
is not good because the land slopes up from the sea. The town is 
large and has many inhabitants, and a great deal of trading is 
done there by many merchants, natives of Malabar as well as 
Klings, Chettis and foreigners from all parts, both Moors and 
heathens. It is a very famous port and is the best thing in all 
Malabar. Many nations used to have great factories here; each 
country used to bring its merchandise here, and a great business 
of barter and exchange took place. It is a large place; it is 
renowned in all this part of Asia as an important place; this 
kingdom is smaller than Cannanore; it has better fighting forces; 
it is a well-shaded country. They make many kinds of silken 
cloths here, and preserves. Although this king has a great name, 
he is only obeyed inside his kingdom, and not always that; and 
because I am not writing history, I will not give the origin of 
this title; only the people of Malabar say that there used to be a 
king in this Malabar who reigned over the whole country of 
Malabar, and that, persuaded by the Moors, he became a 
Mohammedan and started along the road to Mecca, but died in 
the kingdom of Dhofar [Tufary before he reached the mouth of 
the strait^. He was already out of his mind when he left Malabar, 

1501 and 1525, to this ambitious and adventurous Mamale, an important 
Moorish merchant in Malabar, and his hostility to the Portuguese. Eventually 
his hands were cut off and he was hanged on the wall of the Portuguese 
fortress of Cannanore in January 1525. Correia, ii, 862-3; Castanheda, vi, 
Ixxx, Ixxxi. Barros (in, ix, 3) says that the hanged Moor was Bala Hacem, but 
this is obviously a mistake, in face of Correia’s circumstantial description. 

* Dofar, Diufar or Dhofar, on the southern coast of Arabia. 

* This was king Cheruman Perumal, whose story is related with variants 
by Barbosa and other Portuguese chroniclers. Even Camoens mentions him 
in Lusiadas (vii, 32), when describing Malabar. 



and had divided up the whole country, and after he had given it 
away, a relative of his arrived and asked for a portion. He gave 
him the land of the city of Calicut, which was a small thing, and 
the name has remained until today; but Calicut has grown in 
importance on account of the trade that is carried on there, 

Tanur has many ships. There is no other seaport there. The Kingdom 
king is important and has a good [amount of] land — though not 
so extensive as Calicut — and many subjects. The king is related 
to the kings of Cochin. His country has many inhabitants. He is 
an important Brahman king. 

The ports of Ponnani, Veleankode and Chetwayi, with the 
land belonging to each, are ports with ships and merchants and 
goodly towns. They belong to Brahman lords and Kaimals, 
important people, who sometimes seek the support of someone 
they like ( ?) and sometimes not. They used to be more attached 
to the Calicut faction, but now each one is for himself or acts as 
he pleases. Each of these chiefs is like a king of Malabar, and 
each one is called king by his own people, but not by the other 
kings and lords. 

The kingdom of Kranganur is joined to the land of Chetwayi Kingdom 
on one side and to the kingdom of Cochin on the other. Kran- Krang- 
ganur used to be a place of great repute. It is a good port and has 
many inhabitants and good land. The city of Kranganur was 
important and had a great deal of trade, before Cochin became 
prosperous after the arrival of the Portuguese i. This king is 
noble. Sometimes he seeks the support of Cochin — because 
Cochin receives part of the revenues of this kingdom — and 
sometimes that of Calicut, and sometimes he stands alone. He is 
related to the king of Cochin. The kingdom is not very large. 

The kingdom of Cochin is very small and very great. The Fol. i2gr. 
kingdom is no more than the Island of Vypin {Vaipimy and that 
of Cochin, which together contain about six thousand Nayars. o/ Cochin. 

' The transcriber of the Paris MS missed out some words which appear 
in the Lisbon MS. 

* I found this Island of Vypin, Vypeen or Vaipim mentioned for the first 
time, in a document dated 22 Feb. 1509, as Vaypy, a place where the Portu- 
guese went from the fortress of Cochin to fetch timber to repair and build 
ships. Cartas, ii, 430-8. However, the chroniclers relate how, in 1503, the 
king of Cochin, after being defeated by the Zamorin of Calicut, withdrew to 



of Kay an- 

of Quilon. 




There are lords connected with this kingdom, whose lands are 
as large or larger than the kingdom itself; and all these are now 
vassals of the king of Cochin on account of the power he has 
received through Your Highness; and he is now the greatest of 
all, and the head of all the land of Malabar, and more important 
than any of them and more highly esteemed. He has a good city 
and a good port, and many ships, and does a great deal of trade. 
It is the best thing there is here. The Brahman king is the chief 
of them all and the pope of this country. He always takes about 
with him a great many Kaimals, people who are very important, 
as well as many Brahmans. 

The kingdom of Kayankulam is bounded on one side by the 
land held by the lords of the kingdom of Cochin and on the 
other by the kingdom of Quilon. The king has as much land as 
Calicut and more. There is a certain amount of trade in his land, 
and he has some ships and merchants, though not many. He is 
an important king with many subjects. He is held in esteem. He 
is rich and a great lord, and has more ships than Quilon. 

The kingdom of Quilon is bounded on one side by the king- 
dom of Kayankulam and on the other by the kingdom of Tra- 
vancore. In addition to the port of Quilon it has the port of 
Vilinjam. This king is the greatest in Malabar in land and 
subjects. He has the city of Quilon. It is a great port of call 
where the ships of many merchants from different places do a 
great deal of trade in this kingdom. He is a great lord, and the 
principal king of Ceylon used to be his vassal, and used to 
receive forty elephants every year as a tribute; but these he now 
no longer receives, after Your Highness has made manifest your 
power in India. The kingdom of Quilon has great trade, and 
there are many ships. 

The kingdom of Travancore is bounded on one side by Quilon 
and on the other side it ends at Cape Comorin. He has only a 
few houses on the sea coast, but inland he is a great lord and an 

the Island of Vypin with the Portuguese who were in the factory of Cochin 
‘This island of Vaipim is believed among them to be a holy land, as the land 
of Jerusalem is among us. . . . And because this island of Vaipim was the first 
land uncovered by the sea, it was honoured as the paramount (senhora) of all 
the others uncovered later’. Correia, i, 361-3. Castanheda, I, liii; Barros I, 
vii, i; Pyrard de Laval, I, 435- 



important person with good land and warlike people. This [king] 
buys many horses, which go from this kingdom to the kingdom 
of Narsinga. He has many subjects, and good men at that. There 
are Mukkuvan villages on the sea-coast, and the Mukkuvans 
let the people of the interior know when ships are coming in, and 
help unload the horses. 

The kingdom of Comorin is bounded^ on one side by Travan- Kingdom 
core and on the other it extends as far as Qaile^ which belongs to 

• • CotnoYi ft 

it. The prince of Comorin becomes king of Quilon on the death 
of the king of Quilon. With exception of the land in the king- 
dom of Travancore, this land of Comorin is not so good as the 
others; it has no palm trees, or only very few. 

All the kings who live in Malabar are always at war with one 
another — on land, because the Nayar’s religion forbids him to 
eat at sea, except by permission of his chief Brahman in case of 
dire necessity. The Brahmans go to sea even less. 

There are in Malabar tones catures, which are long rowing 
boats, covered over on top, leaving just room for a man to worm 
his way in. Each one of these takes from ten to twenty oars. 

They are light, and there are a great many of them, and archers 
go in them. They belong to Mukkuvan Arees^, who have many 
people and wealth, and there are many along this coast, and if 
they find a ship that has been becalmed, by rowing they take it 
wherever they like, against the will of the ship’s crew, because 
they are great archers. The low caste people in Malabar are very 
poor, and they are great thieves. There are more Nayars and 
Brahmans than people of any other nation in Malabar. 

No one in the whole of Malabar is allowed to roof his house 
with tiles, unless it be a turicol or mosque or, by special privilege, 
the house of some great Kaimal; and this is to prevent them from 
becoming too powerful in the land. And the kings of Malabar 

* According to the Lisbon MS and Ramusio. 

* Qaile is later spelt Caile, and appears as Calle in the letter of 1516 and as 
Cale in the Lisbon MS. This place was often mentioned for its pearl fishery. 

Once a famous port near the extreme southern part of India, opposite 
Ceylon, it is to-day ‘represented by the deserted site among the lagoons of the 
delta of the Tambraparni River now known as Palayakayal or Old Kayal’. 

Dames, ii, 122-3; Yule, Marco Polo, ii, 371-4. 

3 Arees, plural of arel, chief of the fishermen, pilot, or captain of the port, 
in Malabar. From the Malayalam arayal. 


H.C.S. I. 



enforce this very firmly. They are called Kaimals in the same 
way as we say dukes, marquises, counts and other titles, because 
they are lords possessing much land and vassals^; and there are 
some Kaimals in Malabar with ten thousand Nayar [vassals], 
and there are others with a hundred or two hundred Nayars. 
rade in There are countless palm trees and arecas along the coast of 
Malabar. Malabar; but they do not extend for more than a league and a 
half inland, or two leagues at the most. The fruit of the palm 
trees is called coconut; we call them nuces Indiae, and the fruit 
of the areca is called areca and we call it avelana Indiae. There 
are an enormous number of these. There is a great deal of betel. 
The merchants of Malabar trade as far as Cambay and the 
Rajputs on the Persian side, and as far as Pulicat on the Choro- 
mandel side, and also in Ceylon and the Maidive {Diva) 
Islands^. All the merchants in Malabar who trade on the sea are 
Moors, and they have the whole of the trade. They are great 
Fol. i2gv. merchants | and good accountants. These merchants have paid 
Nayars who accompany them; and some of these Nayars are 
their secretaries and are better accountants than the Moors. 
Some of the people of Malabar turned Mohammedan at the 
beginning, but not now. 

Merchan- Copra, which is the dried kernel of coconuts, ripe coco- 
dise of nuts, areca, betel, palm sugar, which is called jaggery, coconut 
Malabar, pepper, ginger, tamarind, myrobalan. There must be 

about twenty thousand bahars^ of pepper in Malabar, and it 

' Perhaps the transcriber of the Paris MS missed a line here, for in the 
Lisbon MS and Ramusio it reads as translated above. 

^ Pires is the only Portuguese writer who used the form Diva or Diua (see 
note p. 53) for the Maidive Islands. Barbosa calls them Ilhas do Maldio, and 
all the chronicles Maldivas. However, the form Diva was usual among earlier 
writers, from at least as early as the fourth century. From the sixteenth 
century down to the present day several writers have tried to explain the 
etymology of the word Maldives. No doubt diva means island and is derived 
from the Sanskrit dvlpa\ but for mol or male, opinions are most divergent. 
The most likely of all explanations is that it is derived from the Sanskrit 
mala, meaning ‘a garland or necklace’, which seems rather appropriate to the 
configuration of the Maidive Archipelago. 

3 Bahar is an ancient weight used in large trading transactions in India and 
the Indian Archipelago. Its value varied much with the locality, but it was 
generally reckoned as equal to four quintals or 400 lbs. avoirdupois, accord- 
ing to Yule (Hobson-jfobson). See pp. 277-8. 



grows from Chetwayi to the kingdom of Kayankulam, and a 
little around Quilon; Kranganur and Cochin are the nearest 
ports of call for this pepper, and they take it to wherever they 
make the most profit, however difficult the journey. Pepper does 
not grow in either Kranganur or Cochin; but the lords who live 
near these two kingdoms gather it and sell it. That grown in the 
kingdom of Cochin is the best. 

Upwards of two thousand quintals of ginger are produced in 
this part of Malabar every year. It grows from Calicut to Canna- 
nore. That from the land of Calicut is larger, and better, and not 
stringy; that from Cannanore is inferior. The largest quantity 
comes from Calicut, and the least from Cannanore. 

The jungles all over this province are full of myrobalans of all 
kinds — citrine, Indian, chebulic and bellericq and there are also 
some tamarinds. 

Coconuts — Palm trees are the most plentiful things in the 
kingdom of Cannanore as far as Vilinjam in the kingdom of 
Quilon; from Vilinjam onwards to Choromandel you can count 
them because they are so few — hardly any at all. 

Many of these dried coconuts are sent out of the country. 
They are good merchandise. All the ships take them. Oil is 
made from them, and they are also eaten. 

There is a great trade in areca, which is generally sent to 
Cambay; because most of that in Choromandel comes from 
Ceylon, as we shall see when we come to Ceylon. There is a 
great deal in Malabar, and dried [areca] is exported in quanti- 
ties. The largest amount of it in these parts grows from Cochin 
to Cannanore, and the bulk of the trade is made up of this and 

Coir also comes from this country. What is known as esparto 
is also called coir here. But coir is the fibre or outer covering of 

' In his letter of 1516 (Appendix I), Fires says that ‘Myrobalans are of five 
sorts’. In the Sutna he names only four of the five sorts he mentions in the 
letter. The fifth is the emblic myrobalan or Phyllanthus Emhlica Linn. The 
citrine {cetrino) or yellow myrobalan is Terminalia citrina Roxb.; the Indian 
(indio) or black myrobalan is Phyllanthus disticus Muell. ; the chebulic (qublico 
or quibuly) myrobalan is Terminalia Chebula Retz.; the belleric (beleriqo) 
myrobalan is Terminalia belerica Roxb. Orta (xxxvn) deals at length with all 
the five sorts. 

tom£ pires 


the coconut shell. Things made from this coir, beaten and spun 
in their way, are good and stand up to every kind of use without 
spoiling, except if they get wet in fresh water, when they rot. 
Nothing but coir is used in these parts for ship’s rigging and 
cables, and it is an important trading item. A great deal comes 
from the Maidive {Diva) Islands, as we shall see in the proper 

So the Moors of Malabar, who are sailors and merchants, 
bring their goods from the Diu coast, and also from the Choro- 
mandel coast, Ceylon and the Maidive {Diua), and do a good 
trade in Malabar. Calicut is the chief place where most of the 
merchandise goes. 


Fol. i6or. As I followed the coast of the mainland, I had no mind to deal 

of the 

with the island of Ceylon, and afterwards I almost forgot about 
it; and it did not seem right to fail to speak of it even in a place 

island of 



inserted out of the proper order; but the scarcity of paper made 
me do this, and so as not to put in a leaf and break the original 

The beautiful island of Ceylon is situated over against 
Comorin; it extends almost to Nagore {Nadr\ which must be a 
good hundred and thirty leagues of coastline. Cape Comorin 
is thirty five leagues out to sea, and from there onwards it draws 
nearer until at the nearest point it is only fifteen leagues away. 
And all the Malabar ships sail between this island and the 
Choromandel coast; but those making for Bengal or Pegu or 
Siam, go round the island on the southern side. 

The island of Ceylon is large; it must be three hundred 
leagues in circumference, much longer than it is wide. It is very 
populous; it has many towns and large houses of prayer, with 
copper pillars, and with roofs covered with lead and copper. 
The kings of Ceylon are five. They are all heathens. They stand 
between the people of Malabar and the Klings. The land is well 
provided with everything, except that there is a scarcity of rice. 
It has plenty of the other foodstuffs. 



The best part of the island is from Galle {CaleeY up to the 
point opposite Comorin, and this is where the chief king is, 
and the best towns, and at this point rise great mountain ranges, 
and here are found precious stones in this king’s land, where all 
the trade is. It is an island for trade and navigation. 

The chief one is Colombo {Columho)^ another is Negombo Ports in 
(Nygumbo), and Chilaw (Celabao) and Dewundara (Tenavarqe) 
and Weligama {Balitngaoy. The king has his residence near the 

* Galle, already called Gdlle by Barros, and Gale by Castanheda, corre- 
sponds to the modern Point de Galle and Galle harbour in the south-western 
end of the island. Recorded for the first time on the map of c. 1 540 as galte. 

2 The map of 1 502, so-called Cantino, is the first to represent Ceylon approxi- 
mately in its right position. It has on the east coast three place-names; 
morachitu (Mullaitivu), traganamelee (Trincomalee), and pananio (Panawa?); 
off the south-east coast of the island it has the inscription: ‘here grow cinna- 
mon and many other kinds of spices, and here they fish for pearls and seed- 
pearls. The people of this island are idolaters and they trade together with 
Calicut’. Next comes Rodrigues’ map (fol. 28), the first on which the island 
is called Ilha de (eillam\ a supplementary inscription explains: 0 propo name 
destaa ilha se chama iranary (the proper name of this island is Iranary). 

Barros (iii, ii, i) says that the proper name of the island is Ilandre, which the 
Portuguese did not know, so they called it Ceilao, from the baixos de Childo. 

See note p. 76. ‘The Malabars and other Indians call this island Hibendro 
[the b being an obvious mistake for /], which means rank land’. Castanheda, 

II, xxii. Illendre means ‘the kingdom of the island’ in the Malabar language. 

Couto, V, i, 5. But neither was right. It seems that Iranary or Ilandre comes 
from the Tamil Ilan-nddu, ‘the country of Ceylon’. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. 

Ceylon; Ferguson, The Discovery of Ceylon by the Portuguese in 1506, p. 380, 
and History of Ceylon, pp. 30-3; Dames, ii, 109. Another note on Rodrigues’ 
map of Ceylon says: te alifantes aRoz esta tern canella t asi muytos Robis 
t outra pedraria (this has elephants, rice; it has cinnamon, as well as many 
rubies and other precious stones). This map has the following place names: 
ticanamalee (Trincomalee), maticalab (Batticaloa), baligaoo este he iraua 
(Weligama, this is Irana), bagicancla (Galle), alicano (Alutgama), penotore 
(Panadure), colunbo (Colombo); between the last two names is written: outros 
qatro falece aq pera por (four others are missing here for lack of space 
[to write them down]). Another Rodrigues’ map (fol. 33) represents the two 
northern thirds of the island, with the following inscriptions and names: 

A yiha de feillam homde toda pedraria t muyta canella t muytg allifamtes j j . 
t 0 profo nome desta ilha se chama Jranaryj j (The Island of Ceylon where 
[there are] all precious stones and much cinnamon and many elephants. And 
the proper name of this island is Jranary)-, Janapanapatatiam este te alifantes 
este he baneane (Jaffna; this has elephants; this is Banian); ticanamalee este te 
aRoz nele (Trincomalee; this has rice in it); maticalab este te aly f antes j he 
macuaj (Batticaloa; this has elephants; it is Mukkuvan); desta Jlha a Jlha de 
gamysspolla ha duzemtas llegoas (from this island to the island of Gamispola 
is two hundred leagues); alicano (the upper part of this word was cropped 
when the volume was bound) (Alutgana), penotore (Pdnadure), calitore 


tom:^ pires 

port of Colombo, half a league from the port, and in the greater 
part of the island has the following merchandise: 

Ceylon It has all kinds of precious stones, except diamonds, emeralds, 
m^chan- turquoises. It has all the others in quantities. The stones are not 


sold without the king’s licence. Every stone in the country worth 
fifty cruzados belongs to the king. This is by decree under pain of 
death to whoever has it, and it is sold through the king’s hands 
Fol. i 6 ov. to whoever goes there to buy it. | It has a great abundance of 
elephants and ivory; it has cinnamon. Elephants are sold by the 
cubit; they are measured from the tip of the fore-foot to the top 
of the shoulder. Cinnamon is usually worth a cruzado a bahar. 
The bahar is the same as that of Cochin — three quintals and 
thirty arrates. The country has a great deal of areca, which is 
called avelana Indiae in Latin. It is eaten with betel. It is a food- 
stuff and is very cheap. It is sold in Choromandel. 

Ceylon trades elephants, cinnamon, ivory and areca with the 
whole of the Choromandel and Bengal, [and] Pulicat, taking 
rice, white sandalwood, seed-pearls, cloth and other merchan- 
dise in return. 

Merchan- Rice, silver, copper, a little quicksilver, rosewater, white sandal- 

dise of wood and Cambay cloths, a few cafutos, a great many mantazes, 
^C^lon 'vispices^. All white cloth is of value, and some clothing — not much 

— from Pulicat, a little pepper, and also cloves and nutmeg. 
Coinage They have silver fandes, four being worth one Cochin fanam, 
of the which are eighteen to the cruzado. Gold money is current every- 
country. Ceylon at its value. Ceylon has good craftsmen — 

jewellers, blacksmiths, carpenters, and turners chiefly. The 
people of Ceylon are serious, well educated. The grandees do 
little honour to strangers, and they do not steal, [only] if they 
cannot. They have complete justice among them. 

(Kalutara), colunbo (Colombo), mogutuard (Maguhare?), nygonbo (Negombo) 
and celauam (Chilaw). 

Besides calee (Galle), columbo, ny gumbo (Negombo), celabao (Chilaw) and 
balimgao (Weligama), Pires mentions tenavarqe, which corresponds to Dewun- 
dara (or Devundara or Dewin uwara), on Dondra Head, the southernmost 
peninsula of Ceylon. This is Barros’ Tanabare (III, ii, i) and Couto’s 
Tanavark, Tancuarem or Tanaverem (v, vi, 3; x, iv, 12; x, x, 15). 

* Cacuto was an Indian cloth, perhaps black or dark, of Persian origin. 
Mantaz was a Cambay cloth, perhaps of cotton. Vispice was a coarse cotton 
cloth in India. Dalgado, s.vv. Ca9Uto, Mantaz and Bespi9a. 



The king is very arrogant in not allowing people to speak to 
him except from far off. He always used to be a tributary of the 
king of Quilon, sending forty elephants yearly; and since the 
affair of the factor whom they killed there in Quilon they say 
that the king of Ceylon did not pay him any more tribute. The 
land of Ceylon is beautiful, well shaded. It has many native 
fighting men, bowmen and lancers. It has a few ships of its own, 
and they trade from Quilon [and] from Bengal to Cambay. They 
trade mainly in the port of Colombo because it is the most 

They do not trade with the other kings because they have no 
ports, and if some have them they are shallow; but the kings are 
wealthy, and they come and bring elephants and cinnamon to 
this king’s land and there they arrange about their merchandise. 
These kings have some rice in their lands. They are all relations 
and friends. 

The island of Ceylon has many religious men, such as friars, 
monks, beguines, under a vow of chastity; and every man of 
Malabar and gentile holds the observances of Ceylon in venera- 
tion. Their temples are richly adorned and the priests are 
dressed in white, not after the fashion of the people. They are 
ill-disposed towards Moors and worse towards us. The different 
peoples say that they are all ruled justly. 



[Bengal — Arakan — Pegu — Siam — Burma — Cambodia — 
Champa — Cochin China] 


Fol. T34r. f I Bengalees are great merchants and very independent, 
I brought up to trade. They are domestic. All the 
JL merchants are false. 

The Bengalees are merchants with large fortunes, men who 
sail in junks. A large number of Parsees, Rumes, Turks and 
Arabs, and merchants from Chaul, Dabhol and Goa, live in 
Bengal. The land is very productive of many foodstuffs: meat, 
fish, wheat, and [all] cheap. The king is a Moor, a warrior. He 
has great renown among the Moors. The people who govern the 
kingdom are Abyssinians. These are looked upon as knights; 
they are greatly esteemed; they wait on the kings in their apart- 
ments. The chief among them are eunuchs and these come to be 
kings and great lords in the kingdom. Those who are not 
eunuchs are fighting men. After the king it is to this people that 
the kingdom is obedient from fear. They are more in the habit 
of having eunuchs in Bengal than in any other part of the world. 
A great many of them are eunuchs. Most of the Bengalees are 
sleek, handsome black men, more sharpwitted than the men of 
any other known race. 

Method They have now been following the Pase (Pafee) practice in 
ofsucces- Bengal for seventy-four years, that whoever kills the king be- 
swn in the king. They hold and believe that no one can kill the king 

’ without the consent of God, and he therefore becomes king; and 
in this way the kings last a very short time. From that time up to 
now it has always been Abyssinians — ^those who are very near 
to the king — who have reigned. This is done in such a way that 
there is no surprise in the kingdom. The merchants live in peace. 
It is already the custom. Formerly it was not done in this way, 




Rodrigues’ map (fol. 33) of the Bay of Bengal, with part of Ceylon, 
and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (p. 522) 


but was from father to son. They borrowed this practice from 
Pase and they keep strictly to it. 

The king of Bengal is powerful . He has many mounted men. The 
There must be a hundred thousand mounted men in his kingdom. King's 
He fights with heathen kings, great lords and greater than he; but 
because the king of Bengal is nearer to the sea, he is more 
practised in war, and he prevails over them. He is much given 
to arms. He is a very faithful Mohammedan. The kings of this 
kingdom turned Mohammedan three hundred years ago. The 
land is very rich. 

The king of Orissa borders on Bengal on the Choromandel Tributary 
side. He is a great king and he is his tributary. He possesses a 
great many elephants and he is the chief king and rich. The of Bengal. 
good diamonds come from this country. 

Arakan {Rapatny borders on Bengal on the Pegu side. This 
[king] has many horses and is warlike and he is always at war 
with him. And this king is also tributary to the said king of 

The King of Coos^ is a heathen. They say he must have 
seventy thousand horsemen, and he is also tributary to him. 

This kingdom of Cous has much pepper and silk and opium. 

The king of Tripura is also a heathen, in the interior, 

and a tributary of his. He possesses many elephants and [is] the 
lord over all these four kings. His vassals are great lords. The 
rich things there are in Bengal are made in these kingdoms, and 

* In Pires’ time the Mohammedan sovereign of Bengal was Alauddin or 
Ala-ud-Din II, who reigned from i499(?) to 1521. 

^ This is the Arcangil of Barbosa, and Arragam, Aracam, Arracao, 
Aracao or Racao of Portuguese chroniclers and maps. 

3 Coos or Com. Cam in the Lisbon MS. In his description of Bengal, 
Barros (iv, lx, i), after referring to the Reino de Arracam, mentions the Reino 
de Cou. It is likely that Coos corresponds to Barros’ Cou. He writes that 
‘The Bengalees say that [some time ago] . . . the Tiporitas [inhabitants of 
Tipdra or Tripura] made an alliance with those of the kingdom of Cou, also 
hostile to the Bengalees, whom they do not obey any more; and as this king- 
dom of Cou is great, has more horsemen than any of its neighbours, and is 
difficult country because of the many mountains, it alone could conquer 
Bengal, the more so if helped by the Tiporitas, who are a very warlike people’. 

* The state of Tripura, in Bengal, which appears as Reino de Tipora on 
Lavanha’s map of Bengal, added by him in 1615 to his first edition of Barros’ 
Decada IV. Bocarro calls it Tipara, ch. xcix. 


Fol. 134V. 

Ports of 


because they cannot live without the sea, they obey him, 
because he allows them an outlet for their merchandise. It must 
be three years now since they rose against Bengal. They are 
waging a fierce war and do not obey him. This Tipura has an 
infinite amount of cotton. 

The king of Bengal is always at war with the king of Delhi, 
and the captains and men of one and the other are always fight- 
ing. The king of Delhi is a much greater lord than the king of 
Bengal, but he is fifteen days’ journey away from Bengal and 
there is not much water along the road, and for this reason the 
said king of Bengal is not obedient to the said Xaquedarxa^, king 
of Delhi. This king is a heathen, a great lord, much feared, with 
a very large number of horses, elephants and men. 

The principal port is that of the City of Bengal^, whence the 
kingdom derives its name. It takes two days to go from the mouth 
of the river up to the city, and they say that at the lowest tide 
there are three fathoms. The city must have forty thousand 
inhabitants. The king has his residence in this city. They are all 

* Sikandar Lodi, who reigned till 1517. 

^ ‘The City of Bengal’, was the ancient capital of Bengal, the great historic 
city of Gaur or Gour. Its ruins, extending over an immense area, still exist a 
few miles south of English Bazar, on the eastern bank of the old channel of 
the Ganges. When Pires wrote down his information, Gour was in full 
splendour; it had been, though with ups and downs, a great centre for some 
centuries. The identity of the so-called ‘City of Bengal’, mentioned also by 
Varthema and Duarte Barbosa, has given rise to much controversy. Opinions 
have been divided mainly between Gaur, Chittagong and Satgaon, besides 
several other places. Studying and discussing new data, mainly from Pires’ 
Suma, Portuguese chronicles and early maps, I have dealt at length with this 
very interesting subject, together with that of Satgaon (Sadegam), in two 
articles — The 'City of Bengal' in early reports, and A ‘Cidade de Bengala' no 
seculo XVI, published respectively in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 
of Bengal and in Boletim da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa. I came to the 
following conclusions: (i) The ‘City of Bengala’ of the early sixteenth- 
century writers was Gaur. There are many reasons for this identification, but 
the decisive argument in its favour is the fact that Tom6 Pires mentioned the 
‘City of Bengala’ and Satgaon as different places, and said that the former, 
a great city of 40,000 hearths, lay two days’ journey up the river, which 
excludes Chittagong. (2) Later on, however, when the Portuguese settled in 
Bengal, the designation ‘City of Bengala’ corresponded to Chittagong, as is 
shown by several mid sixteenth-century Portuguese chroniclers and carto- 
graphers. (3) As far as I know the designation ‘City of Bengala’ was never 
applied by the Portuguese to any other city or port of Bengal. 



palm-leaf huts, but the king’s house is of adobe and well built. 
This river is the Ganges — the Bengalees say that it comes from 

The other port is Satgaon {SadegatnY over against Orissa. It 
has a good port; it has a good entrance. It is a good city and rich, 
where there are many merchants. It must have ten thousand 
inhabitants. These are the chief trading cities in Bengal. There 
are others inland, but they are strongly fortified garrison towns, 
of no [commercial] importance, and there is constant war in the 

Orissa {Orixa), which is in the kingdom of Orissa, is the port 
of the city of Orissa. It lies near the sea. 

Cultarey, Armagon (Arjamom), Pulicat (Paleacate), Nagore 
(Nador), Negapatam (Nagapatam) of the great and famous 
turucol of Narsinga — all these ports in the Bomaquelim, land of 

* Satgaon is today a ruined city north-west of the modern town of Hugh, 
twenty-three miles north of Calcutta. It was the mercantile capital of Bengal 
from the days of Hindu rule until the foundation of Hugh by the Portu- 
guese in 1579. The Portuguese speak of O Goli or O Golim, just as they say 
O Porto. From the latter resulted Oporto; so the former gave Hooghly or Hugh. 

^ In the Lisbon MS these names read: ‘callcari/ ariamao paleacate na 
omaga/ patamto/ turocoll/.’ 

Port and city of Orixa — As Gour corresponds to Cidade de Bengala, so 
Cuttack, the historical capital of Orissa, must correspond to cidade dorixa or 
City of Orissa. Cuttack, the chief city of Orissa is on the right bank of the 
Mahamadi River, fifty-five miles from its mouth, on the apex of the delta. It 
may have been a good port formerly, but the beds of the deltaic rivers have 
long been silted up and their outlets obstructed by shoals and sand bars. 
Barros (i, ix, i) says that the coast of the kingdom of "Orixa, owing to its 
roughness, has few ports, only Panacote, Calingam, Bazapdtan, Vixdopatan, 
Vituilipatan, Calinhdpatan, Naciquepatan, Puluro, Panagate, and Cabo Segd- 
gora'. Many early maps show at about the latitude of Cuttack (20° 29' N.) 
a port named Calecota or Casecota-, sometimes another name, Casegate, 
appears just on the north of Calecota. 

CuLTAREY — ^This must correspond to Caleture mentioned by Barros as one 
of the seven main places on the coast between S. Thome de Meliapor and 
Guadavarij (Goddvari). It appears with similar names on early maps, about 
14° 30' N, corresponding perhaps to Nellore {14° 27') on the Penner River 
or to Allur at its mouth. However, the chief and safest natural harbour on the 
Choromandel coast north of Madras is Cocanada, in 16° 57' N. 

Arjamom — Aremogam in Barros and similarly on several early maps. 
Corresponds to the Armagon Shoal, is*" 55' N; Blackwood harbour lies 
between Armagon Shoal and the coast. 



A junk goes from Bengal to Malacca once a year, and some- 
times twice. Each of these carries from eighty to ninety thousand 
cruzados worth. They bring fine white cloths, seven kinds of 
sinabafos, three kinds of chautares, beatilhas^ beirames^ and other 
rich materials. They will bring as many as twenty kinds. They 
bring steel, very rich bed-canopies, with cut-cloth work in all 
colours and very beautiful; wall hangings like tapestry; and also 
sugar preserves of various kinds in great plenty: all the myro- 
balans in conserve, ginger, oranges, cucumbers, carrots, rapes, 
lemons, quinces, figs, pumpkins, Indian gourds and many other 
fruits; some of these in vinegar. They bring an abundance of 
strongly scented vases in dark clay, which are highly esteemed in 
these parts and are very cheap. 

These people sail four or five ships and junks to Malacca and 
to Base every year, and this is still done to a large extent. 

Bengali cloth fetches a high price in Malacca, because it 
is a merchandise all over the East. In Malacca they pay six per 
cent. They are people who know a great deal about merchandise. 
From here in Malacca they use all their money and other [money] 
which they take on the return [voyage] in [trade with] Bengal, 

Paleacate — It is spelt thus in every chronicle and early Portuguese map. 
Corresponds to Pulicat, 13“^ 25' N. 

NaXor. — Aahor in Barros. Corresponds to Nagore, a port three miles north- 
west of Negapatam. 

Nagapatam — Negapatam. ‘The great and famous turucoV cannot be in the 
town itself, where the oldest temple dates from 1777. ‘The only other con- 
siderable town (in Negapatam Taluk) is Tiruvalur, noted for its temple and 
the idol car belonging thereto.’ Imp. Gaz. of India, s.v. Negapatam Taluk. 
‘There is (in Tiruvalur) a richly-endowed temple, which is attended by pil- 
grims.’ Idem, s.v. Tiruvalur. This may be the turucol or temple referred to by 
Pires. The idol on the car was annually drawn in procession through certain 
parts of the city of Negapatam, this being the occasion for scenes of self- 
immolation similar to those of the famous Juggurnaut festival at Puri in 

Bonua qlim or Bonuaquelim, spelt also Benuaquelim — Bonua corresponds 
to the Malay banuwa, which means land, country. Qlim, or quelim, from the 
Malayalam Keling or Kling, was the name given by the Portuguese to the 
natives who came from at least part of the Choromandel coast to trade or 
live in Malacca. Bonuaquelim, then, means ‘Land of the Klings’. See note 
p. 64. 

' SiNABAFO — Shanbaff or Sinabaff. A white fine cotton cloth made in Bengal. 
Chautar — A large piece of cloth, sheet or shawl, white or in colours. Beirame 
Fine cotton cloth of several colours. 


and make a great profit with it, which they cannot do in Pase, 
except with pepper and silk. 

The chief merchandise they take to Bengal is Borneo camphor Return 
and pepper — an abundance of these two — cloves, mace, nut- 
meg, sandalwood, silk, seed-pearls a large quantity, white porce- Malacca 
lain in plenty, copper, tin, lead, quicksilver, large green porce- to Bengal. 
lain ware from the Liu Kiu {Leqios), opium from Aden and some 
little from Bengal, white and green damasks, enrolados^ from 
China, caps of scarlet-in-grain and carpets; krises and swords 
from Java are also appreciated. 

Every merchant who goes to Bengal has to pay three on every 
eight, and they consider that this unreasonable tax is a right 
thing, because these goods are of so much value in the country, Bengal. 
and the things they take back are of such high value and so small 
in bulk, that they affirm that when the goods are brought safely 
into harbour and sold, the profit on one is from two and a half to 

They leave here at the beginning of August and they reach Fol. igsr. 
Bengal in thirty days; they stay there trading; they leave there on 
the first of February and they take as long again to Malacca. thTmon- 
When they want to insult a man they call him a Bengalee. They soon. 
are very treacherous; they are very sharpwitted. There are a 
large number of Bengalees, men and women, in Malacca. The 
men are fishers and tailors — most of them — and some of the 
workmen do very bad work. 

Gold is worth a sixth part more in Bengal than in Malacca and Coinage 
silver is a fifth part cheaper than in Malacca, and sometimes a 
quarter cheaper. The silver coinage is called tanqat. It weighs which 
half a tael, which is nearly six drams. This coin is worth twenty they 
calains in Malacca, and seven cahon in Bengal. Each cahon is 
worth sixteen pon\ each pon is worth eighty cowries {buzeos)\ so 
that a cahon is worth one thousand two hundred and eighty 
cowries, and a tancat is worth eight thousand nine hundred and 
sixty cowries, [at the rate of cowries] four hundred and forty 

' Enrolado. This word is very frequent in the chronicles, and some Portu- 
guese dictionaries record it as meaning ‘a kind of old Indian cloth’ or ‘a sort 
of woollen cloth’. Dalgado {s.v.) was unable to discover the nature of this 
cloth or the reason for the name. Resende mentions 'enrrollados which are 
thin like bofetas' (a kind of zephyr fabric). Ltvro do Estado da India, fol. 32 ir. 

tom£ pires 





are valid 




eight to the calaim^ which is the price for which they give a good 
chicken, and from this you can tell what you could buy for them. 
In Bengal the cowries are called curyK 

Cowries are current coinage in Orissa and in all the kingdom 
of Bengal, and Arakan (Raqa), and in Martaban {MartamaneY, 

" Tanqat — The word tucka or taka is still usual in Bengal for a rupee. From 
the Sanskrit tankaka, ‘stamped silver money’. 

Calaim — Calay, meaning tin in the Orient. Although generally used in this 
sense, it was also used as meaning a tin coin. Referring to the seizure of 
Malacca by Albuquerque in 1511, Barros (ii, vi, vi) says that ‘there were no 
other coins there but those of tin’. When describing the currency in the 
Cuama River (Zambeze, in Mozambique) Fr. Joao dos Santos writes: ‘Tin is 
also currency: they call it calaim, which is shaped into loaves, each weighing 
half an arratel, and they call these pondos\ each of these pondos is worth two 
tangos, which are worth six vintens.' Ethiopia Oriental, i, ii, viii. Pires say 
later on, when dealing with Pegu coinage, that ‘The calaim is worth eleven 
reais and four cetis’; and when dealing with Sunda coinage he speaks of ‘three 
hundred calaimsy which are nine cruzados’, making the calaim equal to twelve 
reais or reis\ this he confirms when dealing with the Malacca coinage. 

Cahon — Kahan. Cowry tables dated about 1778 and 1854 show the 
following values — ‘4 kauris = i ganda; 20 gandas = i pan; 4 pan = i ana; 
4 anas = I kahan.’ Hobson- Jobson, s.v. Cowry. This table of values agrees 
exactly with those given by Pires. 

PoN or pone — Pan, the old Bengali designation for eighty cowries, from the 
Sanskrit pana, ‘to barter’, whence the Malayalam and Tamil pa'^am, ‘money’, 
and, according to Hobson-Jobson (r.t). Fandm), and Dalgado (r.w. Fanao 
and Pone), thefanam or fanao, an old gold or silver coin used in India at least 
until the last century. Nunes (p. 37) says that the Cauryns'&re current in Bengal, 
80 cauryns make one pone: 40 to 50 pones are given for one tangua larym.’ 
Dealing with the ‘Weights in China’, Pires asserts that the picoll contains a 
hundred cates, the cate sixteen taels, the tael ten mazes and the maz ten pons. 

Buzeo or cury — Cowry or kauri. Castanheda (iv, xxxv) says: ‘There are in 
these islands (Maldives) . . . small white shells (buzios) which are called 
courts, that serve as small currency in Bengal, because they are cleaner than 
the copper, which they say soils the hands.’ 

The transcribers of the Paris and Lisbon MSS, as well as Ramusio, all 
made the same rather careless mistake, in saying that the tankat is worth 8970 
buzeos. Ramusio makes a further mistake when he says that the calaim is 
worth 458 buzeos. 

* Martaniane further on; Martabane in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 
It appears as martabane in the Cantino map, as Martauao in several middle 
sixteenth-century Portuguese maps, and as cidade de martabam in L. 
Homem’s map of 1554. Although the usual form in the sixteenth-century 
chronicles was Martabam, Giovanni da Empoli, a contemporary of Pires, in 
a letter of 1514 wrote also Martaman. Archivio Storico Italiano, in, Appen- 
dice, p. 54. Firenze, 1846. ‘This is the conventional name for a port on the 
east of the Irawadi Delta and of the Sitang estuary, formerly of great trade, 
but now in comparative decay’, in Burma. Hobsom-Jobson, s.v. Martaban. 



a port of the kingdom of Pegu. The Bengal cowries are larger, 
with a yellow stripe in the middle; they are valid throughout 
Bengal and they accept them for a larger number of commodities 
as they would gold; and in Orissa. They are not valid anywhere 
else and they are highly prized in these two places. We will speak 
about those of Pegu and Arakan when we talk of these places. 

These selected [cowries] come from the Maidive {Diua) Islands 
in large quantities. 

The Bengal balance is called a dala^. This is a branch of wood Method of 
without scales, and they tie the goods to the ends, and it is done weighing. 
like that. And with the merchants, if you take a balance, they 
work out the accounts, and so you do your trading. They say 
that ten or twelve people collect the dues, each one his own, 
and they are the officials for this, and that when they take 
their tithe they wrong the merchants and tyrannise over them 

The Bengalees merchants say that this king of Bengal, who is 
called Sultan Vfem Xaa^, is not benevolent to the merchants, 
and that many of them are going to other places. This king has 
twenty-four sons by his concubines, and many daughters. 


The kingdom of Arakan is between Bengal and Pegu. The Kingdom 
king is a heathen and very powerful in the hinterland. It has a 
good port on the sea, where the Peguans, the Bengalees and the ^ 

Klings trade, but not much business. The port is called Myo- 

^ Zhia in the Lisbon MS; dalla in Ramusio. The Sanskrit ddl means ‘to 
divide’. ^Ddli [Hindi]. A tray, or a couple of trays, fastened by slings to each 
end of a pole, carried over the shoulders.’ G. C. Whitworth, An Anglo- 
Indian Dictionary. According to D’Rozario’s Dictionary a balance is palld in 

^ Soltdo bamxar in the Lisbon MS; Soltam vamxoa in Ramusio. In this 
case, as in many others, we can hardly imagine what Fires originally wrote, 
or what he heard, and how he wrote it down. This V(em Xaa may be 
one of ‘the very powerful heathens whose generation are now called vene- 
zaras’ (Orta, x), identified by Ficalho (i, 129-30) and Yule {Hobson-Jobson 
s.v. Brinjarry) as Banjaras, Vanjaras or Brinjarries, people who usually move 
about carrying their cattle and goods to different markets. The king or sultan 
of Bengal was also known as Alauddin Husain Shah in Fires’ time. 

the musk 
and fine 

Fol. I 35 V. 



in this 


haung {Mayajerijy. Near this port the king has an adobe 
fortress, which for them is strong. 

There are many horsemen in the land of Arakan and many 
elephants. There is some silver. There are three or four kinds of 
cotton cloth, which the natives wear. They are cloths of their 
manner and dressing, and there are more there than in other 
places, and people go there for them. 

The kingdom of Arakan is bounded far in the hinterland by 
the great mountain range which is called Capelanguam^, where 
there are many places inhabited by a not very civilised people. 
These people bring the musk and rubies to the great city of 
Ava3 which is the chief thing in the kingdom of Arakan, and 
from there they go to Pegu, and from Pegu they are distributed 
1 to Bengal, Narsinga and to Pase and Malacca. The mine for the 
said rubies is in the Capelamgua, [and they are] the best there 
are in these parts. The musk comes from animals such as goats. 
They flay them and the flesh is pounded up with the blood. 
From the skins they make the little bags we call papos*\ and this 
is the truth about musk, and it does not come from apostemes, 
and if you look at them closely you will find many that still have 

The coinage of this country is capa, that is fruseleira^ in 

* Malagery (?) in the Lisbon MS; Maiarani in Ramusio. This must be 
Myohaung, in the Akyab District of the Arakan division of Burma. 'Myo- 
haung Village (‘Old town’), formerly the capital of the ancient kingdom of 
Arakan. The ruins of the fort are still in existence.’ Imp. Gaz. India, s.v. 

2 Capelamgam in the Lisbon MS; Capelangam in Ramusio. ‘This is a name 
which was given by several sixteenth-century travellers to the mountain in 
Burma from which the rubies purchased at Pegu were said to come.’ Hobson- 
Jobson, s.v. Capelan. Capelam in Barbosa. Yule refers to ‘Capelang, the Ruby 
country north of Ava, a name preserved to a much later date, but not now 
traceable’. Cathay, i, 177. 

3 Ava. ‘The name of the city which was for several centuries the capital of 
the Burmese Empire.’ Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Ava. 

The expression ‘papos de almiscar' — ^pods or ‘craws’ of musk — was current 
in India. It is mentioned in the Roteiro de Vasco da Gama (1498), p. 1 12. 

s When describing the Pegu coinage, Pires says that the fresuleira or canfa 
of copper and tin is better than that of copper, tin and lead, and the worst is 
copper and lead. When he deals with China, the word is spelt fuseleira. Nunes 
(p. 38) writes: ‘In Pegu there is no coined money, and what they use commonly 
consists of dishes, pans, and other domestic utensils, made of a metal like 
frosyleyra, broken in pieces; and this is called gamga.' ‘In Pegu they do not 
mint coins, the currency being some old pans which they have used, and 

dise that 
Pegu to 
and to 

they pay 


to Pegu. 


with a large city and many merchants. The Toledam of it is 
greater than the others. The junks are made in this port because 
of the amount of good wood there. The other port is distant 
from Martaban; the people of Malacca and those of Pase go there, 
and it is also a good large city with merchants. The common 
people of this kingdom are naughty in their own country and 
outside it they are peaceable, good workers, simple folk. 

The principal [merchandise] is rice. There come every year to 
these two places and to Pedir fifteen to sixteen junks, twenty to 
thirty cargo pangajauas } like ships. They bring a great deal of 
lac and benzoin, musk, [precious] stones (?), rubies, silver, 
butter, oil, salt, onions, garlic, mustard ( ?)^ and things to eat like 
that. They leave in February and arrive at the end of March and 
during the whole of April. They are men who sell their goods 
peaceably, according to the custom of the country. Seven or 
eight merchants value the merchandise, and they abide by this 
and sell it. 

Neither in Malacca nor in Pase are any duties paid on any 
foodstuffs, but they are given as a courtesy, because they are so 
accustomed in the country. On the rest they pay six per cent. 
There is great profit in bringing rice and lac and all the rest of 
it from Pegu to Malacca. 

The chief thing is coarse china of various kinds and orna- 
mented in red, a great deal of quicksilver, copper, vermilion, 
damask, dark enrolados with flowers — which come straight from 

River as a branch of a large delta corresponding to the present Irawadi, 
Rangoon, Pegu and Sitang rivers, the whole under the name of Cosmim or 
Rio Cosmim, as appears more clearly on Eredia’s map of the Bay of Bengal 
(fol. 73). This is why Castanheda, in another place, says that ‘a city called 
Cosmim, the port of Pegu, lies eighteen leagues up a river on which lies Pegii 
ninety leagues from the sea’ (iv, v). It is obvious that he is confusing Cosmin 
with the ancient Dagon or Rangoon. Correia (ii, 474) makes the same mis- 
take. Pinto (cxc) mentions in the same sentence the town of Cosmim and the 
river of Digum (Dagon) as quite distinct. The map of Fra Mauro records 
Chesmi. The earliest Portuguese map in which I find Cosmj is the anonymous 
one of c. 1540. 

Dogo — Dagon, the original name of Rangoon. In the Lisbon MS it is 
written Degoni. It appears as Digum in Pinto’s Peregrinagao, cxc. 

' Pangajaua, or pangajava, from the MdlayaXam. penjajap. It was an ancient 
Malayan man of war, long and of shallow draught. 

2 This word mostarda (.^), difficult to read in the Paris MS, was suppressed 
in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 



China for them because they are of no use for others — quanti- 
ties oitmjreseleira, some in broken pieces and some whole (?), 
especially that which is coinage. And they take an infinity of 
different kinds of china, seed-pearls, a little gold— they spend all 
their money, and more if they had it, on this some cloves, 
nutmeg, mace, nothing much. They leave here on the first of 
July and go to Pase to load up with pepper and in August they 
go to Martaban. 

The duties which the said merchants pay in Pegu are twelve Duties 
per cent, and none of these are remitted. If you have to speak to they pay 
the governor, you must take a present, and that is the custom in 
Malacca: you have to pay a bribe according to what the affair is. 

The port of Martaban is dangerous. There are pilots of the bar 
who guarantee to take you safely in, if you pay them according 
to the custom of the country. They do not go in at full tide nor 
at low tide; they take it midway for safety. 

The coinage of Pegu, which is used in trading is freseleira, Fol. is^r. 
which is called canfa. Some of this fruseleira is better and some 
is less good. Fruseleira of copper and tin is better than that of coinage. 
copper, tin and lead, and the worst is that of copper and lead. 

The conga of Martaban is the best. This is current throughout 
the country at ten calains, three arrates and five ounces to the 
viga, which is a cate and a half on the big scales of Malacca. 

These are according to the new weight, and the other is worth 
less. The calaim is worth eleven reals and four ceitis, at the rate 
of a hundred calains to three cruzados^. 

* Arrates — The arratel (pi. arrdteis) is an old Portuguese weight equivalent 
first to 14 and then to 16 ounces. See note p. 277. 

Vi?A — A weight used in Southern India and Burma, the value of which is 
given as from 40 ounces (Nunes, Castanheda, Bocarro, etc.) to 53 ounces. 

Yule {Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Viss) says that ‘in Burma the t«« = ioo tikals = 

3 lbs. 5 5I’, which is about the value given by Pires. 

Cate — The cate or catty is a variable weight introduced from China into 
Malacca and now fixed at 625 grammes, or 22.9 ounces. The Portuguese 
considered it as equal to 20 or 28 ounces, but some authors even go as low 
as 4 ounces, or as high as 30^ ounces. The cate here indicated by Pires would 
be equal to 35.34 ounces; but further on, under the title ‘Coinage and weights 
used in Pegu’ and ‘Coinage and weights used in Pase’, he says that 5 cates are 
equal to 12 arrdteis, which makes the cate equal to 38.4 ounces. When dealing 
with the Malacca weights and measures Pires says that ‘the cate for merchan- 
dise weighs . . . 32I ounces and 25 grains’. 


Value of 
the vi9a < 

Gold and 






A vifa of the said canga is worth ten calains; so you say ‘How 
many vigas of such and such merchandise will you give me for a 
viga of cangaV, or ‘How many vigas of conga do you want for a 
viga of such and such merchandise?’. And each of these vigas 
contains a hundred tiquas^. These hundred tiquas are worth as 
much as a viga. 

The silver is in rounds marked with the mark of Siam, because 
it all comes from there. The piece in the round is called caturna^. 
The weight of it is a tael and a half which is two ounces and one 
eighth; and in Pegu one quarto is worth four vigas and a half, 
and this side of Malacca it is worth a tael of timas^ which is 
sixty-four'^ calains. Gold has the same value in Pegu as it has in 
Malacca. A great deal of silver is taken from Pegu to Bengal, 
where it is worth somewhat more. 

The small currency of Pegu is small white cowries. In Marta- 
ban fifteen thousand are usually worth one viga, which is ten 
calains', when they are cheap sixteen thousand; when they are 
very dear fourteen thousand, and generally fifteen thousand. A 
calaim is worth one thousand five hundred. For four hundred or 
five hundred they will give a chicken, and things of that sort for 
the same price. If [you are] in Pegu the said cowries are not 
valid except in Martaban, and they are valid in the same way in 
Arakan. The cowries come from the Maidive {Diva) Islands, 
where they make large quantities of towels, and they also 
come from the islands of Baganga^ and of Borneo {Burney), 
and they bring them to Malacca and from here they go to 

Cruzado— An old Portuguese gold (later silver) coin worth 390 reais in 
Pires’ time. However, according to Pires’ account it seems to be equal to 375 
reais. The cruzado of Pires’ time would be worth about 285 Escudos, or about 
£2 17s. today. Cf. Azevedo, iSpocas de Portugal Econdmico, p. 488. 

> Tiqua — ‘The quasi-standard weight of (uncoined) current silver’ in Burma. 
A little more than three eighths of an ounce. Hobson-jfobson and Dalgado s.v. 

2 This sentence has been left out in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 

3 Further on, when dealing with the Malacca coinage, Pires says that 
timas means tin. 

* Eighty-four in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 

5 Bamgamjam in the Lisbon MS; Bandam in Ramusio. Perhaps one of the 
small islands Balambangan or Banguey, the town of Bongon, or the port of 
Jabongon on the north coast of Borneo. See p. 522. 



The bahar by the dachim} of Martaban is less than that of Weights 
Malacca by twenty cates. The Martaban one contains a hundred 
and twenty vifos which are a hundred and eighty cates, and the 
Malacca one contains two hundred, and these cates are accord- 
ing to the big scales. Rice is measured by toos. Each tom con- 
tains ten Malacca tested in the country. 

One Gujarat ship comes to the port of Martaban and of Dagon Gujarat 
{Doguo) every year. They bring these goods; copper, vermilion, 
quicksilver, opium, cloth; and they take a large quantity of lac 
which is cheap in the country — sometimes four vifas the bahar, 
sometimes five and six and seven; and they take benzoin, silver, 
[precious] stones and go back, and sometimes they are wrecked 
on the bar. 

The king is always in residence in the city of Pegu, which is King and 
inland, and from the city to the port of Dagon (Dagam) is a day 
and night’s journey, to Martaban four and to Cosmin {Coximjm) 
eight days. Next to the king in importance is the Braja^^ who is 

* It seems that dachim, datchin or dachem was a steelyard or balance, but it 
was taken also as meaning a weight (loo cates in Javanese). According to 
Nunes (p. 39), at Malacca ‘The haar of the great Dachem contains 200 cates, 
each cate weighing 2 arrdteis, 4 ounces, 5 eighths, 15 grains, 3 tenths. . . . The 
baar of the little Dachem contains 200 cates; each cate weighing 2 arrdteis’. 

Marsden says that in Achin, for the payments in gold dust ‘one is provided 
with small seals or steelyards, called daching’. History of Sumatra, p. 401. 

Further on, when dealing with the weights and measures of Malacca, Pires 
says that he verified the dachim and that it ‘weighed exactly three quintals, 
three arrobas and twenty-six arrdteis’ (pp. 277-8). 

* Toos — The mercal or mercar, a grain measure in use in the Madras 
Presidency, is also known as toom. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Mercall. Nunes (pp. 

36, 59) refers to the mercar as a rice measure in Negapatam, of variable 
capacity, but now estimated at 2.6 litres. 

Ganta — The guanta, ganta or ganton is a measure of capacity in Malaya. 

Several sixteenth-century Portuguese writers give its value as a Portuguese 
Canada (1.4 litres), but Nunes says that it was a rice measure equivalent to 
five quartilhos (1.75 litres, the quartilho being a fourth of a Canada) in Malacca. 

Ibid. pp. 39, 40. Further on, when dealing with the weights and measures of 
Malacca, Pires says he found that the rice contained in one ganta 'weighed 
three arrdteis and ten ounces of the new measure’. See notes p. 181 and 277. 

As the Pegu toom mentioned by Pires contained ten Malacca gantas, it was 
about three times larger than the Negapatam toom or mercar. The ganton or 
gantong is still a measure of capacity in Malaya, equivalent to a gallon (4.543 
litres) today. N. B. Dennys, A Descriptive Dictionary of British Malaya, 

3 Cobrajem in the Lisbon MS; Cobrai in Ramusio. 


Custom of 
the lords 
and other 

Fol. ij 6 v 

ance and 
dress of 
the Pegu 
men and 


his captain and governor of the kingdom, and next the Toledam 
of Dagon, and next the one of Martaban and next the one of 
Xoi] ^ He has a large number of elephants — there must be six 
or seven thousand in the whole kingdom. 

All the lords of Pegu, and the other people according to their 
wealth, make a habit of wearing little round bells in their privy 
parts. The lords wear as many as nine gold ones, with beautiful 
treble, contralto and tenor tones, the size of the alvares plums^ 
in our country; and those who are too poor | to have them in 
gold and silver have them in lead and fruseleira\ and the gold and 
silver ones make much more noise than these other lead and 
fruseleira ones^. 

The men of Pegu are of medium height. They are on the 
stout side, stunted, and good workers with great strength. They 
are always shorn all round, leaving the hair growing in the 
middle of the head and longer on the top. Their teeth are always 

' Pesim in the Lisbon MS; Pizim in Ramusio. Perhaps Pires wrote or 
intended Cosmim. 

^ A Portuguese variety of Prunus domestica Linn. 

3 Barbosa refers to this extraordinary practice with further details, ending 
however with these words: ‘I say no more of this on account of its indecency.’ 
II, 154. Galvao also mentions it: ‘They haue delight to carrie round bels 
within the skin of their priuie members, which is forbidden to the king and 
the religious people.’ Hak. Soc. ed., p. 113. In Garcia de Resende’s Mis- 
cellanea there is this stanza: 

‘There is also this custom 
in Pegu, that men vie [with each other 
as to] which of them shall have 
most bells in their privy member, 
where they insert them, 
cutting open their flesh, 
and this healing up in time, 
they remain fixed inside: 
they say that they are better liked 
by the women through this practice.’ — St. 88. 

Even Camoens in the Lusiadas alludes to this Pegu custom: 

‘Here sounding metal in their parts unseen 
They fit, a trick invented by the Queen 
Who, by this method, as she did intend, 

To the accursed error put an end.’ — Canto x, St. 122. 
Pigafetta also gives a curious description of this practice, with most extra- 
ordinary details, but refers it to Java, a place to which he never went, 
evidently mistaking it for Pegu. Robertson’s edition, ii, 169. It seems that 
the practice — if it ever existed and was not ‘a mere figment of imagination’ 
— has never been recorded by any modern writer. 



black with betel. They wear a great deal of white cloth round 
their thighs, and white cloth [round] their heads — almost like a 

The women are fairer than the men are. They are of body The 
beautiful, less shy, and wear their hair in the Chinese fashion, 
as we shall tell in the description of China. Our Malay women 
rejoice greatly when the Pegu men come to their country, and 
they are very fond of them. The reason for this must be their 
sweet harmony. Certainly they are much esteemed by them, and 
not without cause. These people are peaceable and well dis- 
posed here in Malacca. They say that in their own country they 
are proud. 

As, in accordance with the arrangement of this book, we 
shall pass through Siam on the way to Malacca, it is right that 
we should speak of it, although we shall come upon it again on 
the China side at the river of Odia^. 


There are three ports in the kingdom of Siam on the Pegu Kingdom 
side, and on the Pahang and Champa side there are many. They 
all belong to the said kingdom and are subject to the king of 
Siam. The land of Siam is large and very plenteous, with many 
people and cities, with many lords and many foreign merchants, 
and most of these foreigners are Chinese, because Siam does a 
great deal of trade with China. The land of Malacca is called a 
land of Siam, and the whole of Siam, Champa and thereabouts 
is called China. 

The kingdom of Siam is heathen. The people, and almost the 
language, are like those of Pegu. They are considered to be 
prudent folk of good counsel. The merchants know a great deal 
about merchandise. They are tall, swarthy men, shorn like those 
of Pegu. The kingdom is justly ruled. The king is always in 

' Odia or Ayuthia, former capital of Siam, was destroyed by the Burmese 
in 1767, after a two years’ siege. Barros writes Odia and Hudid. Couto (vi, 
vii> 9) gives an interesting description of ‘the city of Odia, the principal of 
the kingdom of Siam, which lies forty leagues up the river’ (Menam Chao 
Phaya). Odia was sometimes ca]led Judea or ludia. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Judea. 

FoL i37r. 

in Siam. 


residence in the city of Odia. He is a hunter. He is very ceremon- 
ious with strangers; he is more free and easy with the natives. He 
has many wives, upwards of five hundred. On the death [of the 
king] it has as king a person of the blood [royal], usually a 
nephew, the son of a sister, if he is suitable, and if not there are 
sometimes agreements and assemblies [to decide] who will be 
the best. Secrets are closely kept among them. They are very 
reserved. They speak with well-taught modesty. The important 
men are very obedient to the king. Their ambassadors carry out 
their instructions thoroughly. 

Through the cunning [of the Siamese] the foreign merchants 
who go to their land and kingdom leave their merchandise in the 
land and are ill paid; and this happens to them all — but less to 
the Chinese, on account of their friendship with the king of 
China. And for this reason less people go to their port than 
would [otherwise] go. However, as the land is rich in good 
merchandise, they bear some things on account of the profit, as 
often happens to merchants, because otherwise there would be 
no trading. 

There are very few Moors in Siam. The Siamese do not like 
them. There are, however, Arabs, Persians, Bengalees, many 
Kling, Chinese and other nationalities. And all the Siamese trade 
is on the China side, and in Pase, Pedir and Bengal. The Moors 
are in the seaports. They are obedient to their own lords, and 
constantly make war on the Siamese, now inland and now in 
Pahang. They are not very warlike fighting men. The said 
Siamese wear bells like the men of Pegu, and no less but just as 
many. The lords wear pointed diamonds and other precious 
stones in their privy parts in addition to the bells — a precious 
stone worn is according to the person or his estate. 

The foreign merchants in Siam pay two on every nine, and 
the Chinese pay two on every twelve. The bahar weighs the 
same as it does in China, neither more nor less. The Siamese 
gold and silver cate is equivalent to a Malacca cate and a half. 
Cowries, like those current in Pegu, are current throughout the 
country for small money, and gold and silver for the larger 
coins. This money is worth the same as we have said for Pegu. 
And there seems to be no doubt that they pay one in fifteen on 



the goods going out, because the truth is that they pay duties of 
two in ten on everything in Siam. 

The nearest to the land of Pegu, to Martaban, is Tenasserim Ports in 
(Tenaparj) and then Junkseylon {Juncalom) and then Trang 
{Terrdmy and Kedah {Quedaa), and it is a port of the kingdom ^^^^rds 
of Kedah which is tributary to it. And from Kedah to Malacca Malacca 
they are all tin places, as we have already said in the kingdom ^ 
and district of Malacca. 

This had to be [mentioned] before we speak of Kedah, so that Pons in 
it should be in order. 

Beginning from Pahang {Pahdao) and Trengganu {Talim- 
gano), Kelantam {Clamtam), Say, Patani {Patane), l^dkon the China 
(Lugor), Martard, Callnansey, Bamcha, Cotinuo, Peperim, Pam- 
goray'^, are all ports belonging to lords of the land of Siam, and 

' All fol. i37r. of the Paris MS was left out in the Lisbon MS and in 
Ramusio; so these names cannot be collated as in other instances. 

Juncalom — Junkseylon, an island and old port off the west coast of the 
Malay Peninsula. It is referred to by Galvao and Pinto, and appears for the 
first time in Diogo Homem’s atlas of 1558 as jusala. 

Terram — Trang, Tarang or Klong Trang, a river, port and town further 
south, in y"' 18' lat. N. It is mentioned by Barros (i, ix, 1) as Torrao. The map 
of c. 1540 has toram. Some cartographers, as Dourado, placed torao south of 
Kedah; on the maps of D. Homem and Berthelot toraque or Torram is also 
south of Kedah. In this case they meant perhaps the present Trong, in 4° 40', 
which appears on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 34) as Pio do trom, i.e. Kuala Larut, 
bounded by Singa Besar Island on the north and Trong Island on the south. 

^ Later on, under the heading ‘King and Lords of the kingdom of Siam’, 
the names of these ports are written as follows: ‘pahamj talimganoj chantan- 
sayl patane j lugoumaij taram calndsey banq^ chotomuj pepory pamgoray' . 
Barros (i, ix, i) says that along the coast up to the river Menao (Menam or 
Bangkok) there are the following notable towns: 'Pdo, which is the capital of 
the kingdom so called, Ponticao, Calantao, Patane, Lugor, Cuy, Perperij, and 
Bamplacot, which lies at the mouth of the river Menao. ’ He also mentions the 
following ‘towns which are sea ports’ from Hudid (Bangkok) towards 
Malacca: ‘Pangogay, Lugo, Patane, Calantam, Talingano or Talinganor, and 
Pam\ III, ii, 5. 

Clamtam — Corresponds to Kota Bharu, at the entrance of the Kelantan 
River. The Calantao or Calantam mentioned by Barros. Dourado’s atlas of 
1580 has R° de calamtao, which is found also on later maps. 

Say — Corresponds to Saiburi at the entrance of the Telubin River, in 
6° 42' lat. N. The 1554 map of L. Homem has sera patane north of calatam\ 
in D. Homem’s atlas of 1558 there is r. serra between catata and patane, and 
tei in Dourado’s atlases. Then it appears again on an Eredia map (fol. 27) as 
Sea. Rio, between calantan Rio and PATANE-, the atlas of c. 1615-23 has 
Sea between calantam and patane-, Berthelot’s map of 1635 has Sey between 

River of 




some of these are kings. They all have junks; these do not belong 
to the king of Siam, but to the merchants and the lords of the 
places; and after these ports there is the river of Odta, where 
they go up to the city — a river where boats and ships can go, 
wide and beautiful. 

Kedah is a very small kingdom, with few people and few 
houses. It is up a river. There is pepper there, a matter of four 
hundred bahars a year. This pepper goes by way of Siam to 
China, with that which they bring from Pase and Pedir also. 
When any ship comes to Tenasserim and to the ports of Siam, 
it comes to Kedah to sell its merchandise also, and the people 
from the tin districts buy and take gold, because Kedah is a 
trading country; and they get to the land of Siam in three or four 
days by land, and they take the merchandise from Kedah to Siam. 

The kingdom of Kedah is almost bounded on one side by 
Trang {Terrdo), and on the other by the end of the kingdom of 

R. de calantam and Patane. J. V. Mills says that the ‘Sai River’, as it appears 
on an ancient Chinese Wu-Pei-Chih chart, ‘represents what is now called the 
Telubin River. The earliest European map to mark the river is that of 
Homem (1558) who calls it “Seiia” [a misreading for r. serra as noted above]. 
Similar names appear on all the maps on which the river is named, down to 
at least 1850: the name “Telubin” does not appear until after that date’. 
Malaya in the Wu-Pei-Chih Charts, p. 36. However, the name survived in 

Lugor — Lakon roadstead and town. The map of c. 1540 has logor. 

Martara — The next important port to the north is Bandon. But still 
further north there is an islet called Matra near the coast, in 10° 24' lat. 
N., southeast of M. Chum Pon. Is this connected with Pires’ Martara} 

Callnansey — Bang Kamma Sen, a small village on the coast, in n“ 2' 
lat. N.? 

Bamcha — Bang-taphang or Bang Sabhan, in ii*’ 12' lat. N.? Banagh in the 
Mohit. Pinto mentions several times this town or port of Banchd. 

CoTiNUX — Further on called Chotomuj. Koh Ta kut, in 12° 15' lat. N.? 

Peperim — Pechabury river and town. The Perperij of Barros. Perpji on the 
map of c. 1540, and Peiper on Berthelot’s map. On several later maps it 
appears as Piperi (see maps in L. Fournereau, Le Siam Ancien). On an early 
sixteenth-century Portuguese map by Miranda (in Aires, Ferndo Mendes 
Pinto e 0 Japdo) it is Piper, corresponding to the town of Pechabury, in 
13'" 6' lat. N. On the map published by Bowring, The Kingdom and People of 
Siam, end of vol. ii, it still appears as Phiphri, on the north of the entrance 
of the river Pechabury in 13° 16'. 

Pamgoray — This must be the Pangopay mentioned by Barros as the first 
port when going from Bangkok to Malacca. Pangopay was identified as Bang 
Plassoy by Campos, Early Portuguese Accounts of Thailand, p. 1 1. 



Malacca and by Bruas {Baruazy. Kedah trades with Base and 
Pedir, and the people of Pase and Pedir come to Kedah every 
year. One ship comes from Gujarat to the ports of Siam, and 
comes to Kedah and takes in a cargo of the pepper there is in the 
country, and from there it sometimes goes back to Pase and 
Pedir to finish taking in its cargo, and it takes the tin from 
Bruas, Selangor {(^alamgor) and Mjmjam^. 

Kedah is under the jurisdiction of the king of Siam, and they 
go to Siam by the Kedah river. Kedah has rice in quantities, and 
pepper. A great deal of merchandise from China is used in 
Kedah; and Kedah does not have junks, it has lancharas. It is a 
country. It does good trade. Because of their proximity, cloth in 
Kedah is worth the same as in Malacca. 

Now we will go on to Siam on the China side, and after having 
finished talking about Siam, and about some of its ports, we will 
enter into the kingdom of Cambodia. 

There is a great abundance of rice in Siam, and much salt, Merchan- 
dried salt fish, oraquas^, vegetables; and up to thirty junks a year 
used to come to Malacca with these. 

used to 

* The mouth of the river Bruas or Sungi Bruas is in 4° 28' lat. N. One of the come to 
villages near the sea is called Pengkalen Bahru today, and higher up the river Malacca 
there is a village of Bruas. Pires says later, when describing Baruaz, that in 
the "Baruaz river there are two inhabited places (povoafoes)’. Pinto (cxliv) time when 
states that in 1544 he ‘saw all the coast of the Malay, which is 130 leagues 
(from Malacca) to Jungalao, entering all the rivers of Barruhds, Salangor, traded 
Pandgim, Quedd, Paries, Peddo, and Samhilad Siad’. Dealing with Malacca, tvith it. 
in 1614, Bocarro (xliv) mentions Barvas. The map of c. 1540 has broes, be- Pood- 
tween queda and pulo cabilam\ L. Homem’s map of 1554 has baruas between stuffs, 
pemdam (Penang) and pulo sambilam (Sembilan); Dourado’s atlases and other 
Portuguese maps have baruas between tor am (Trang) and p. sambilad-, Eredia’s 
map of the Malay Peninsula (fol. 27) has baruas immediately north of a 
cape corresponding to the Bindings; the Atlas of Janssonius (1658) still has 
Baruas. The Malacca Strait Pilot says that ‘Sungi Bruas is a small river 
fronted by the mudbank extending from s to 9 miles off-shore’ but navigable 
by canoes for nearly 60 miles. It appears that the former port of Baruas or 
Bruas disappeared through silting. 

^ Mjmjam — The map of c. 1540 has micham immediately north of cdlagor 
(Selangor, in 3° 2i')- The name still survives in Mehegan Point, the south 
point of the mouth of Binding River (4° 14') which ‘has a deep and clear 
entrance and is said to be navigable by vessels drawing 1 5 feet (4™ 6) ... a 
distance of about 7 miles’. Malacca Strait Pilot. See below, p. 261. 

s Arrack, here the distilled spirit from a palm. In some instances Pires seems 
to mean the palm-tree itself. 





Fol. T 3 JV. 

dise from 
for Siam. 

How long 
it is that 
the Sia- 
mese have 
not been 
coming to 

Where the 

From Siam comes lac, benzoin, brazib, lead, tin, silver, gold, 
ivory, cassia fistula; they bring vessels of cast copper and gold, 
ruby and diamond rings; they bring a large quantity of cheap, 
coarse Siamese cloth for the poor people. 

They say that the chief merchandise they take from Malacca to 
Siam are the male and female slaves, which they take in quanti- 
ties, white sandalwood, pepper, quicksilver, vermilion, opium, 
azernefe, cloves, mace, nutmeg, wide and narrow muslins, and 
Kling cloths in the fashion of Siam, camlets, rosewater, carpets, 
brocades from Cambay, white cowries, wax, Borneo camphor, 
pachak which are roots like dry rampion, gall-nuts (gualkas), and 
the merchandise they bring from China every year is also of 
value there. 

The Siamese have not traded in Malacca for twenty-two 
years. They had a difference because the kings of Malacca owed 
allegiance to the kings of Siam, because they say that Malacca 
belongs to the land of Siam — They say that it is theirs and that 
twenty-two years ago this king lost Malacca, which rose up 
against this subjection. They also say that Pahang rose against 
Siam in the same way, and that, on account of the relationship 
between them, the kings of Malacca favoured the people of 
Pahang against the Siamese, and that this was also a reason for 
their disagreement. 

They also say that it was about the tin districts which are on 
the Kedah side, and which were originally under Kedah, and 
were taken over by Malacca; and they quarrelled for all these 
reasons, and they say that the chief reason was the revolt against 
subjection. After this the Siamese sailed against Malacca, and 
the Siamese were routed by the Malays, and [they say] that the 
Lasamane was the captain — who has therefore been held in 
great honour ever since. 

The Siamese trade in China — six or seven junks a year. They 
trade with Sunda and Palembang (Palmbaao) and other islands. 
They trade with Cambodia and Champa and Cochin China 

* Brazil-wood or sappan-wood, Caesalpinia Sappan Linn. In his descrip- 
tion of Malacca, Resende refers to ‘some sapam, which is a red wood for dyes 
not much inferior to that of Brazil’. Livro do Estado da India, fol. 377v. Two 
of the most important Brazilian species are Caesalpinia Brasiliensis Linn., 
and C. echinata Lam. 

SIAM 109 

{Caughy\ and with Burma {Brema) and Jangoma^ on the main 
land, when they are at peace. 

On the Tenasserim side Siam also trades with Base, Pedir, 
with Kedah, with Pegu, with Bengal; and the Gujaratees come 
to its port every year. They trade richly outside and liberally 
inside the country, but they are great tyrants. 

King Prechayoa^ means lord of all, and after the king the Aja King and 
Capetit^ is the viceroy on the Pegu and Cambodia side, and makes 
war on Burma {Bremao) and Jangoma. This Aja Capetit has 
many fighting men. Inside his own territory he is like the king of Siam. 
this land. 

The second is the viceroy of Lakon {Loguor). He is called 
Poyohya (P)^. He is governor from Pahang to Odia\ Pahang 

* Cauchy, Cauchij or Cauchy Chyna — Cochin China, called by the Malays 
Kucki, whence the Portuguese Cauchi and Cochinchina. Cf. Hobson-Jobson. 
On the eastern part of the Cantino map there is champocochim and china- 
cockim. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 38) has cofhim da fhina at the head of a long and 
narrow gulf. See note on Champa (p. 1 12). 

Brema — Burma. Mentioned by Barbosa and other sixteenth-century 
Portuguese writers as Berma. 

Jangoma — Mentioned by several sixteenth-century Portuguese writers. 
‘The town and state of Siamese Laos, called by the Burmese Zimme, by the 
Siamese Xieng-mai or Kiang-mai, See.' Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Jangomay. 

® Rey pchayoa or prechayoa. Perchoaa in the Lisbon MS; Perchoa in 
Ramusio. This might suggest King Phrachai or Prajai; but he reigned after 
1534. In Pires’ time the king of Siam was Rama Tibodi II, who died in 1529. 
Phra — ‘it is addressed at court to the king,’ in Burma and Siam. It is 
supposed to be a corruption of Skt. prabhu, an honorific title meaning ‘lord 
or chief’. Hobson-Jobson, s.w. Pra and Parvoe; Dalgado s.v. Precheu. From 
Pinto (cLXXXix) it seems that Prechau was a title of the king of Siam, which 
agrees with Pires’ Prechayoa: ‘The King’s highest title is Prechau Saleu, 
which in our language means holy member of God.’ Gerini says that 
Pinto’s Prechau is ‘P’hrah Chau, the Sacred Lord, i.e. His Majesty; some- 
thing like “Holy Tzar’’.’ Historical Retrospect ofjunkceylon Island, p. 13. 

3 Agii capitemte in the Lisbon MS; Aiam campetit in Ramusio. Oya Kam- 
pengpet, the Governor of Kampengpet or Kamphengphet, the old Siamese 
city in i6‘’ 30' lat. N. A fairly complete Portuguese map by Miranda, of the 
early eighteenth century (in Aires, Fernao Mendes Pinto e o Japao) has 

* Perajoa in the Lisbon MS; Peraia in Ramusio. Perhaps Pra Oya, mean- 
ing ‘Lord Governor’. According to Campos some cities and ports had a 
governor with the title of Oya or Phya. Op. cit., p. 1 1 . Pinto (clxxxii) refers 
to the 'Oyds, Conchalis and Monteos, which are supreme dignities above all 
the others of the kingdom’ of Siam. But referring to Lugor he says (xxxvi) 
there is there ‘a viceroy whom they call Poyho in their language’. 



{Pahdm), Trengganu {Talimgano), Chantansay, Patani, Lakon 
{Lugou), Maitaram, Calndsey, Banqa, Chotomuj, Pepory, Pam- 
goray and other ports all have lords like kings, some of them 
Moors, some of them heathen. And in each port there are many 
junks and these navigate to Cambodia, Champa, Cochin China 
{Cauckij)y and to Java and Sunda, and to Malacca, Pase, 
Pedir and to those of Indragiri {Andarguerijy, Palembang 
(Palimbdo), and from these places to Patani. They have up to 
seven or eight hundred bahars of pepper every year, and every- 
one of these ports is a chief port, and they have a great deal of 
trade, and many of them rebel against Siam; and this viceroy 
very rich and a very important person — almost as important as 
the other, [of] Kampengpet (Capemtit). 

The other is Vya Chacotay^. He is viceroy on the Tenasserim, 
Trang and Kedah side. He is the chief person. He has juris- 
diction over them all. He is perpetual captain of Tenasserim. He 
is the lord of many people and of a land plenteous in foodstuffs. 

Another is Oparaa^. He is secretary to the king. Everything 
passes through his hands and through the Concusa who is 
treasurer; and they say that both this Oparaa and the Concusa 
Fol isSr. now have, | great authority with the king of Siam, although 
the Concusa is a man of low birth. It is customary in the 
kingdom of Siam for everything to go through these two 
people Oparaa and Concusa, and these two wrote to Malacca 
with the king of Siam. 


of Burma 


The boundaries of the kingdom of Burma are in the hinter- 

* All these names from Camboja to Palimbdo were omitted in the Lisbon 
MS and in Ramusio. Barros (ii, v, i), mentions Andraguerij, Albuquerque 
{Comentarios, iii, xvii) refers to Dandargiri, and Castanheda (ii, cxi) speaks of 
Andragide as a kingdom of Sumatra. Ribeiro’s maps of 1527 and 1529 have 
adaragire. Andarguerij corresponds to the Indragiri River, which debouches 
on the east coast of Sumatra in 1° lat. S. 

^ Ajaa chacotai in the Lisbon MS, Aia Chatoteri in Ramusio. Oya Socotai, 
the Governor of Socotay, Sukotai or Sukhothai, the old Siamese city in 17° 
lat. N. The map of Miranda has Socotay north-west of Campeng. 

* Uparat was a title meaning literally ‘Second King’ or ‘Vice King’ in the 
kingdom of Siam. He ‘was, in fact, the Crown Prince’, says Wood, A History 
of Siam, pp. 92-3. 



land, on the side of Pegu and Arakan; and on the China side 
it is bounded by Jangoma, and Jangoma is bounded by Burma 
and by Cambodia. 

These two heathen kings of the hinterland are at war with 
Pegu and Arakan and with Bengal and with Cambodia and chiefly 
with Siam because [Siam] killed certain of their sons. Others 
say that Burma has boundaries only from Pegu to Cambodia 
in the hinterland, and behind this kingdom of the Edetrias^ and 
Jangoma they then enter into the land of China, and as the 
land narrows, there is no doubt that this is so. 

They say that in Burma is the mine for the precious stones Merchan- 
that go from there to the city of Ava, which is in Arakan, and 
that [Burma] has a great deal of benzoin and lac, which goes kingdoms. 
from there to Siam and Pegu; and that the musk comes from the 
kingdom oi Jangoma and the kingdom of the \hlanKY and they 
say that musk also goes there from China. 

They affirm, and it seems reasonable, that they can go over- 
land from Pegu and Siam to take the pepper and sandalwood to 
China — on the hinterland side of China — because the people of 
Pegu and Siam trade with Burma in lancharas and paraos^ up 
the rivers there are in the said kingdoms; and the merchants 
who go in this way say what they please and within a month 
they come back^. 

Pepper, white sandalwood, wide and narrow sinabafos, quick- Merchan- 
silver, vermilion, damasks, satins, brocades, white cloths from 
Bengal; and there are many men from these kingdoms in Siam, in these 
Pegu and Cambodia. Kingdoms 

The men of these kingdoms are horsemen. They have horses 
and elephants. They wear boots. It is their custom to cut off the jangoma. 
noses of all their prisoners, and specially of those from Cambodia, 
who started this custom. 

* This word is omitted in the Lisbon MS and in Ramusio. 

^ There is a word missing here, and in Ramusio also. In the Lisbon MS it 
reads: ‘and the musk comes from the kingdom of Jangoma', from there also 
musk goes to China’. 

3 A small Malay vessel. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Prow; Dalgado i.t). Parau. 

This obscure sentence has been left out in the Lisbon MS and in 












able in 


Leaving Siam on the way to China along the sea-coast, is the 
kingdom of Cambodia, which is bounded along the said way by 
Champa. The said king is a heathen and knightly. This country 
extends far into the hinterland. He is at war with the people of 
Burma and with Siam, and sometimes with Champa, and he 
does not obey anyone. The people of Cambodia are warlike. 

The land of Cambodia possesses many rivers. There are many 
lancharas on them, which sail to the coast of Siam on the Lakon 
side, and they often form into armadas against friends and 
foes(?). The land of Cambodia produces quantities of foodstuffs. 
It is a country with many horses and elephants. 

The land of Cambodia produces quantities of rice and good 
meat, fish and wines of its own kind; and this country has gold; 
it has lac, many elephants’ tusks, dried fish, rice. 

Fine white cloths from Bengal, a little pepper, cloves, ver- 
milion, quicksilver, liquid storax, red beads. 

In this country the lords burn themselves on the death of the 
king — as do the king’s wives and the other women on the death 
of their husbands. And they go shorn around their ears as a sign 
of elegance. 


Kingdom Beyond the land of Cambodia, following the sea-coast, inland, 
of Cham- jg kingdom of Champa. The country is large and produces a 
" great deal of rice, meat and other foodstuffs. | There are no 
Fol. 138V. ports in this country for large junks. It has a few towns on 

* Champaa or Champa — ‘The name of a kingdom at one time of great 
power and importance in Indo-China, occupying the extreme S.E. of that 
region. A limited portion of its soil is still known by that name, but otherwise 
as the Binh-Thuan province of Cochin China.’ Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Champa. 
Barros (i, ix, i) says: ‘Beyond this Kingdom of Camboja comes the other 
Kingdom called Campd . . . which our people call Cauchij China, and the 
natives Cachd.’ Camoens (x, 129) also mentions ‘the coast called Champa’. 
The Cantino map has champocachim on its eastern part. Then the name dis- 
appeared from Portuguese maps, to be found again on the atlas of c. 1615-23: 
CHAMPA, east of CAMBOIA; on Berthelot’s map of 1635: COSTA 
DE CHAMPA, east of CAMBODIA. Similarly on other later maps. 


Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 39) of part of the South Coast of China and 
some islands, possibly the Philippines (p. 523) 



rivers. Ships that draw a fathom and a half of water go in at high 
tide; at low tide they are dry at the entrance. Many lancharas 
navigate in Siam up to Pahang. 

The king is a heathen. He has many subjects. He is rich and 
lives by husbandry. They all have horses. He is at war with 
other kings, and chiefly with the king of Cochin China. 

The chief merchandise of Champa is calambac*, which is Calam- 
aloes-wood, the true and best kind of it, for the kind that is used 
in Portugal is guaro, and here there are forests of it. There is 
a great difference in the taste and smell of calambac, and [there 
is as much difference] in its value as between gold and lead; and 
the best of this calambac, and the source of it, is in Champa. It is 
gummy with black and white veins. It is a soft wood. In Malacca 
two arrdteis fetch six or seven cruzados, and there is some worth 
twelve; and the more perfect and the larger the wood the higher 
it rises in value, as against the small [wood], although they may 
both be equally good. 

It has a good quantity of tried gold from Menangkabau 
{MenancahoY, which comes from the mine, [and] which ever 
goes to Cochin China. The people of Champa hold gold to be a 
merchandise of its true value. It is gold in big pieces. 

From \Champa] they take dried salt fish, rice and gold to Food- 
Malacca, [and] some pepper, because there is no other merchan- 
dise in the country. The country does not have much trade in 
Malacca, because merchandise goes there from Siam. 

’ Aquilaria Agallocha Roxb., Calambac, Agallochum, Aloe or Eagle-wood. 

See Burkill, pp. 197-205. 

^ Menancabo is the ancient inland Kingdom of Menangkabau, in Sumatra. 

The letter to Albuquerque, written from Malacca on 6 Feb. 1510, by Portu- 
guese captives, mentions for the first time ‘the gold that comes to Malacca 
from a mine in Menamcabo on the side of Qamatra, and they go there from 
here by sea and a river in nine or ten days’. Cartas, iii, 10. On the Cantino 
map there is manjcabo at the N.W. of Taporbana Island. The map of c. 1540 
as manacdbo across Sumatra, in 2-3*" lat.S. Dourado’s atlases and the atlas 
of c. 1615—23 have mandcabo naming a river on the south-west of Sumatra. 

One of Eredia’s maps (fol. 24V.) has MINAS: DE: ORO do Monancabo on 
the S.W. of Sumatra. Ferrand {Malaka, le Mayalu et Malayur, xii, 51-82), 
and Dames (ii, 170— i, 186-7) have dealt extensively with Menangkabau and 
the Menangkabos. Tomas Dias, a Portuguese, was the first European to 
visit the hinterland of Menangkabau, in 1684, and a modern Dutch writer 
calls him ‘the greatest explorer of Sumatra’. Schnitger, Forgotten Kingdoms 
in Sumatra, pp. 55-64. 


c.s. I. 



able in 

of the 

and ships. 

of Cochin 


The chief is areca, with which they eat betel, with cloth from 
Bengal, large and small sinahafos, panchavilizes^ , a few Kling 
cloths, pepper, cloves, a little nutmeg, catechu, a little pachak, 
liquid storax. 

Cashes {caixasY from China are used for the small money, and 
in trade gold and silver [are used]. Gold in Champa is worth a 
fifth part less that in Malacca and silver a sixth part. 

It is weak on the sea. It has many lancharas which need little 
depth, because there is little water. They sail through the 
country, which is large. With the merchandise of the country 
and with the cloth produced in the country for their clothes 
they go to Siam and Cochin China. It has no port of note. 
There are no Moors in the kingdom. 

[cochin china] 

The king of Cochin China is king of a larger and richer 
country than Champa. The kingdom is between Champa and 
China. He is a powerful warrior in the land. He has a great 
many lancharas and thirty or forty junks^. The country contains 
large navigable rivers. There are no settlers by them; near the sea 
[there are] many. His country extends a long way inland. In 
Malacca his country is called Cochin China {Cauchy Chyna), on 
account of Cauchy Coulam, 

The king is a heathen, and so are all his people. They are not 
friendly to Moors. They do not sail to Malacca, but to China 
and to Champa. They are a very weak people on the sea; all their 
achievement is on land. They have great lords. This king is 
joined to the king of China by marriages; and as this king does 
not make war with China, he always has an ambassador at the 
king of China’s court, even though the king of Cochin China 
be unwilling, or though it breed discontent in him, because he 

' Perhaps the same as pachaveldes, a printed cloth in Choromandel. 
Dalgado, s.v. Pachavelao. 

2 Caixa — cash. ‘A name applied by Europeans to sundry coins of low value 
in various parts of the Indies.' Hobson-Jobson, s.v. Cash; Dalgado, s.v. Caixa. 

3 Although the Paris MS says ‘four junks’, this is obviously a mistake; the 
transcriber wrote ‘terra atee qoat°’ where Pires had written ‘trinta ou qua- 
renta’. The Lisbon MS and Ramusio have ‘thirty or forty’. 



is his vassal, as will be told in the account of China. Cochin 
China is a land of many horses. 

This king is much given to war, and he has countless Fol. isgr. 
musketeers, and small bombards. A very great deal of powder 
is used in his country, both in war and in all his feasts and 
amusements by day and night. All the lords and important 
people in his kingdom employ it like this. Powder is used every 
day in rockets and all other pleasurable exercises, as we shall see 
in the merchandise which is of value there. 

Chiefly gold and silver, much more than in Champa; the Merchan- 
calambac is not so much as in Champa. They have porcelain there 
and pottery — some of great value — and these go from there to 
China to be sold. They have better, bigger and wider and finer Cochin 
taffeta of all kinds than there is anywhere else here and in our China. 
[countries]. They have the best raw (?) silks in colours, which 
are in great abundance here, and all that they have in this 
way is fine and perfect, without the falseness that things from 
other places have, and also seed pearls and not much. 

At the head of the merchandise appreciated in Cochin China Merchan- 
is sulphur, and [they would take] twenty junks of this if they 
would send them as many as these; and sulphur from China is CocMn 
greatly valued. A very great deal comes to Malacca from the China. 
islands of Solor beyond Java, as will be told when they are 
described; and from here it goes to Cochin China. 

A large quantity of saltpetre is also of value, and a large Saltpetre 
quantity comes there from China, and it is all sold there. Rubies, . 
diamonds, sapphires and all other fine precious stones are 
value, and some opium, but little, a little pepper, and so with 
the other things that are of value in China. Liquid storax is of 
fair value. 

They rarely come to Malacca in their junks. They go to 
China, to Canton {Quamtom)^ which is a large city, to join up 
with the Chinese ( ?); then they come for merchandise with the 
Chinese in their junks, and the chief thing they bring [to 
Malacca] is gold and silver and things they buy in China. 



[China — Liu Kiu — J apan — Borneo — P hilippines] 

of China. 



CCORDING to what the nations here in the East say, 
things of China are made out to be great, riches, pomp 
and state in both the land and people, and other tales 
which it would be easier to believe as true of our Portugal than 
of China ^ China is a large country with beautiful horses and 
mules, they say, and in large numbers. 

The king of China is a heathen with much land and many 
people. The people of China are white, as white as we are. Most 
of them wear black cotton cloth, and they wear sayons of this in 
five pieces with gores, as we do, only they are very wide. In 
the winter they wear felt on their legs by way of socks, and on 
top well-made boots which do not reach above the knee, and 
they wear their clothes lined with lambskin and other furs. 
Some of them wear pelisses. They wear round silk net caps like 
Fol. I39V. the black sieves we have in Portugal, j They are rather like 
Germans. They have thirty or forty hairs in their beards. They 
wear very well-made French shoes with square toes. 

All the Chinese eat pigs, cows and all other animals. They 
drink a fair amount of all sorts of beverages. They praise our 
wine greatly. They get pretty drunk. They are weak people, of 
small account. Those who are to be seen in Malacca are not very 
truthful, and steal — that is the common people. They eat with 
two sticks, and the earthenware or china bowl in their left hand 
close to their mouth, with the two sticks to suck in. This is the 
Chinese way^. 

' Prof. A. C. Moule pointed out to me how this modern assumption of 
western superiority is an interesting contrast to the medieval wonder at the 
superiority of the East. 

2 This is the earliest known European description of the chopsticks. 'A 
very good description too’, comments Prof. Moule. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. 
Chopsticks, has nothing earlier than F. Mendes Pinto’s description, c. 1540. 




The women look like Span sh women. They wear pleated Chinese 
skirts with waistbands, and little loose coats longer than in our '^omen. 
country. Their long hair is rolled in a graceful way on the top of 
their heads, and they put many gold pins in it to hold it, and 
those who have them put precious stones around, and golden 
jewelry on the crown of their heads and in their ears and on their 
necks. They put a great deal of ceruse on their faces and paint 
on the top of it, and they are so made up that Seville has no 
advantage over them; and they drink like women from a cold 
country. They wear pointed slippers of silk and brocade. They 
all carry fans in their hands. They are as white as we are, and 
some of them have small eyes and others large, and noses as 
they must be. 

China has many cities [and] fortresses, all masonry. The city Where the 
where the king lives is called Cambara^, [In the margin of this 
paragraph there is an addition to the text, in the same hand — 
perhaps a couple of lines left out here by the transcriber. The 
manuscript was badly cropped in binding, part of the words 
having been cut away. The text may, however, be reconstituted 
as here given in italics;] This city is in the kingdom of China, the 
king of which is there sometimes as .. . Cambarra, which is called 
Peking (Peqim). These cities are inland, far from Canton (Qato). 

It has many inhabitants and many nobles with innumerable 

Barbosa (ii, 213) also refers to the chopsticks; Pires’ account is better, how- 
ever, perhaps because he had actually seen Chinese eating in Malacca. 

* Cambara or Peqim — Peking. The Cambalu or Cambaluc of Marco Polo, 
and Cambalech of other medieval writers. Though several cities had stood on 
or near the site of Peking, this name was first used in 1403 by the Ming 
Emperor ChSng Tsu (better known by his reign-title Yung-Lo), who moved 
his court thither in 1420. Peking, of course, means ‘northern capital’. It 
seems likely that Tom€ Pires was the first European to call it by that name. 

It must be said, however, that the Comentdrios (lii, xxx), compiled from 
documents contemporary with Pires, also refers to Pequim as the city where 
the king of China was. In their two long letters of 1524, Cristovao Vieira and 
Vasco Calvo often refer to Pequim. The survival at that date of Cambara 
(Polo’s Cambalu) is of considerable interest. It might suggest that Pires knew 
of Marco Polo’s Book, though Cambara and Cambalu are so different in 
spelling, and he does not mention the famous Venetian traveller anywhere in 
the Suma. More remarkable still is the identification of Cambara with Peking. 

Nearly a hundred years later Ricci reckoned as a discovery ‘il Cataio esser la 
Cina e la corte del re del Cataio esser Pachino’. Opere storiche, vol. i, p. 546. 

On the probable representation of Peking on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 40), see 
P- 523- 

kings of 
the king 
of China, 
his tribu- 
taries who 
pay him 

of a tribute 
\who^ only 
[give d\ 

How the 
dors [are 
by the 


horses. The king is never seen by the people, or the grandees, 
except by very few, because that is the custom. They say he has 
countless mules — as if it were in our country. 

The king of Champa, the king of Cochin China, the king of 
the Liu Kiu (Lequjos), the king of Japan. Mention will be made 
of these later. 

The king of Java, the king of Siam, the king of Pase, the king 
of Malacca. These send their ambassadors with the seal of China 
to the king of China every five years and every ten years, and 
each one sends him the best there is in his country of what he 
knows they like there. 

From Malacca they sent him pepper and white sandal-wood, 
good-sized wood, and also garo^, which is apothecary’s aloes, 
rings with precious stones, birds^ which come in quantities dead, 
and things like that, camlets; and each one according to what 
he has. These ambassadors can enter and leave China. 

When these ambassadors go to the king, they do not see any- 
thing but the vague shape of his body behind a curtain, and he 
answers from there, and seven scribes write down the words as 
he says them; the mandarin officials sign this without the king’s 
touching it, nor being seen, and they return; and if they take a 
present of a thousand he presents them with double, and the 
ambassadors leave everything there as bribes and go away with- 
out seeing the face or the person of the king. This is the truth, 
and not, as they used to say, that four men were seated in view 
and that they talked to all of them without knowing which was 
the king. And these ambassadors can cast anchor in the port of 
Canton, as will be told later. 

* Garo, which further on is spelt garuu — The Malay garu or gaharu, for the 
calambac, eagle-wood or aloes. Orta (xxx) says that the Malays call the 
inferior quality garro, and the very fine one calambac. ‘Valentyn pronounces 
the gahru to be an inferior species . . . and different from the genuine kalam- 
bak\ Marsden, History of Sumatra, p. i6o. Gaharu — from the Skt. garu, 
‘heavy’ — is a word of trade and indicates the fragant heavy wood. Burkill, 
pp. 198-9, 202. Dr. Lionel Giles informs me that the Chinese name ior garo 
is ch’in-hsiang, ‘sinking incense’, so called because it is heavier than water. 

* Perhaps the birds of paradise from Aru and New Guinea, and the 
brilliant-coloured parrots from the Moluccas, which were brought to Malacca 
as referred to by Pires further on. The Chinese also imported the hornbill 
and used the bill for various carved ornaments. Cf. Moule, Some Foreign 
Birds and Beasts in Chinese Books, p. 259. 



The kings of China do not succeed from father to son or Fol. i6ir. 
nephew, but by election in council of the whole kingdom. It ^ 
always takes place in the city of Camhara where the king resides, ^ 
and the mandarin who is approved by them becomes king^ king. 

No Chinese may set out in the direction of Siam, Java, 

Malacca, Pase and beyond, without permission from the the realm 
governors 01 Canton, and they charge so much tor signing the 
licence to go and come back that they cannot afford it and do not sail to 
go; and if any stranger is in the land of China he may not leave 

o ' o j KifiP dottts • 

without a licence from the king, and for this licence, if he is rich, 
he is reduced to nothing. And if any junk or ship passes beyond 
the bounds allotted to it for anchorage, its goods are confiscated 
to the king; and the people are put to death for it. 

Beginning from the Cochin China {Cauchy) boundaries Places by 
towards the coast of China, there are fortresses: first Hainan 
{Aynam ) — where they find the seed-pearls that go to China — dom of 
and Nan-t’ou (Nantoo) and Canton and Chang-chou {Cham- China. 
cheoY and other places. Let us speak only of Canton, which is 
the largest of all and the trading centre for these parts. 

* All this information is, of course, wholly incorrect. 

2 There has been some discussion about the Chamcheo or Chincheo of the 
Portuguese, which has been identified with Marco Polo’s Zayton, the magni- 
fico porto de Zaiton of Fra Mauro’s map (1459), corresponding either to 
Ch’iian-chou or Chang-chou, or to both, in the province of Fukien. T’ien-ts€ 

Chang asserts that by the name of Chincheo 'the Portuguese evidently meant 
to include both the perfectures of Ch’iianchow and Changchow’. Sino- 
Portuguese Trade from 15^4 to 1644, pp. 70, 85. Other authorities, however, 
are not so sure that the Chincheo of the Portuguese corresponds to any other 
place than Chang-chou; cf. Paul Pelliot, Un ouvrage sur les premiers temps de 
Macao, pp. 66, 92, where he analyses Chang’s book. Prof. Moule tells me 
that ‘Zayton or Zaitun was certainly Ch’iian-chou, not Chang-chou; but that 
does not prevent Chamcheo being Chang-chou. One would think that 
originally Chamcheo was Changcheo, and that Chincheo was Ch’uan-chou; 
but they were naturally and immediately confused. For the Chinese at a 
rather earlier date, Ch’iian-chou was the port for foreign trade’. Yule had 
already remarked that on ‘the old maps of the seventeenth century . . . 

Chincheo is really Changchau’. Marco Polo, ii, 239. It may be added that 
sixteenth century Portuguese maps, such as Homem’s of 1554, Dourado’s of 
1568—80, and others, show clearly that Chincheo is Chang-chou, situated at 
the inner end of a bay dotted with several islands. The spelling of Pires’ 

Chamcheo rather suggests Chang-chou. The map of c. 1540 is the first on 
which I find C. de chimcheo’, Mercator’s globe of 1541, reproducing an earlier 
Portuguese map, has also C do chimcheo. Later maps have chimcheo or o 
chimcheo inscribed at the end of the bay. 



This Hainan is a bay^ on the coast, without a river. Near it are 
some islands in the sea, where they fish for seed pearls. There 
are large quantities of these. 

The city of Canton {Quamtomy is where the whole kingdom 

’ The Catalan map of 1375-81 is the earliest to represent Hainan Island, 
which is called caynam, from Marco Polo’s Cheynan. The Cantino map has 
an ylha ana at the end of what may correspond to Polo’s gulf of Cheynan, 
bounded on one side by Amu (which in some texts is Ania); but neither Ana 
nor Amu can be Hainan. One of Rodrigues’ maps (fol. 38) shows the Gulf of 
Tong-King, with Hainan duly placed to the east of the entrance to the Gulf; 
on Lei chou peninsula is written mam llimom. tnam stands for Hainan. 
llimom must correspond to King-Men or Lin-mun (Cantonese pronuncia- 
tion), which means ‘Gate of the mountain range’, the name of a town in 
Hainan. In a Lexique geographique des noms de lieux du Lei-K’ioung Tao, 
published by Cl. Madrolle, we find 'Ling-MSn. — Porte de la montagne. 
Ling-Moun (Cantonais); Neing-Moun (local). Bourg dans la region monta- 
gneuse de Hai-nan, district de Ting-an, hien’. Hai-nan et la c 6 te continentale 
voisine, p. 113. Lei-K’ioung Tao, or Lei-ch’iung Tao, is the circuit {tad) 
comprising the departments {fu) of Lei chou, i.e. the peninsula of Kuangtung 
opposite to Hainan, and Ch’iung chou, the northern part of Hainan itself. 
Lei chou and Ch’iung chou were so called throughout the Ming and Ch’ing 
dynasties. Ting-an is a district (ksien) south of Ch’iung chou city, apparently 
on the western slopes of Ch’iung mountain. Ribeiro’s maps of 1527 and 1529 
have C. daytam — an obvious mistranscription from some earlier Portuguese 
map — ^written on a peninsula corresponding to Hainan Island, which appears 
as a prolongation of Lei chou peninsula. The same happens on the c. 1540 
map, which has Y. danid, and near it a tinhosa (Scurfy). The Gulf of Tong- 
King is fairly well drawn on this map, much better than on later sixteenth 
century maps. L. Homen’s map of 1554, D. Homem’s atlas of 1558, and Luis’ 
atlas of 1563 represent Hainan as a separate island, but without name; how- 
ever, they have J. tinhosa. Two ridges united by a sandy isthmus form the 
island still called Tinhosa or Tai chau, separated from the east coast of 
Hainan by a three-mile wide channel. Tinhosa, which afforded good shelter 
and supplies of water, firewood and fish, was an almost obligatory port of call 
for the ships sailing to and from Canton or any port further north. This still 
applies today, in some degree. Cf. China Sea Pilot, in (1923 ed.). 

2 This is the earliest document known in which Canton, the modern form 
of the name of the great city in southern China, occurs. It had been men- 
tioned as Hdnfu (probably = Chinese Kuang fu, i.e. Kuang [choul fu) by 
Sulayman, and Sin-ul-Sin by Idrisi, in the twelfth century, and as Sinkaldn by 
Ibn Batuta, and Censcalan (Chinkalan) by Friar Odoric, in the fourteenth cen- 
tury. One of Rodrigues ’ maps (fol. 40) represents the Canton River. See note on 
Pulo Turnon, p. 12 1. The first maps to record the name Cantam are, however, 
those ofRibeiroof 1527 and 1529. It was thought until recently that the voyage 
of Jorge Alvares in a junk to the Canton River, the first Portuguese visit to 
China, was in 1514. There are, however, several documents showing categori- 
cally that Alvares’ voyage took place in 1513. Pires also confirms the year of 
this voyage when, writing before or at the beginning of 1514, he mentions 
China as one of the ‘places where our junks and ships have been’ (p. 283). 


Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 41) of the North-east Coast of China with 
an island, Parpoquo, which may correspond to Japan (pp. 523-5) 



of China unloads all its merchandise, great quantities from 
inland as well as from the sea. The city of Canton is at the 
entrance of the estuary of a large river which is three or four 
fathoms deep at high tide. The city, which can be seen from the 
estuary, is situated on flat ground without any hills. All the 
houses are of stone and surrounded by a wall which they say is 
seven fathoms thick and as many high, and they say that it is 
steep on the city side. So the Lufoes say who have been there. 

And it has ports where there are many large junks. The city is 
guarded; the gates are closed. They are strong, these kings of 
whom we spoke; they have seals when they send their ambas- 
sadors. They trade inside the city, and if not, they do it outside, 
some thirty leagues from Canton, and take the merchandise 
there from Canton. Some say that the city [where the king lives] 
is about four months’ journey from Canton, and others say four 
[weeks ?] and others — and this is true — that they can do the said 
journey in twenty days good going. 

Thirty leagues on this side of Canton, towards Malacca, there Islands 
are some islands near the mainland of Nan-t’ou 
where are the ports already allotted to each nation, viz., Pulo from 
Turnon^ and others. And as soon as the said junks anchor there, Malacca 


* Nantoo, or Nantd, as it is called by other early Portuguese writers, is 
Nan-t’ou or Nam-t’au (Cantonese pronunciation), ‘an important town in the 
San On [Hsin-an] District, just outside the present British boundary’. J. M. 

Braga, The 'Tamdo' of the Portuguese Pioneers, pp. 428, 429. By San On, 

Braga means the District of Hsin-an which was anciently, and is now, called 
Pao-an. Nan-t’ou is either (a) the District of Pao-an, or (b) the military post 
‘in the Pao-an District’. See next note. 

^ Pulo Turnon, Timon, Tamon, and Tamdo, or Ilha da Veniaga (Island of 
Trade), of the early Portuguese writers, was for long identified with San- 
chuan Island, but so unsatisfactorily that the problem has always provoked 
a good deal of controversy. J. M. Braga showed more recently that Pulo 
Turnon is Lin Tin Island, which lies about the middle of the Chukiang, the 
Canton, or the Pearl River entrance, nearer to the north bank. It seems likely 
that the Turnon or Tamdo of the Portuguese corresponds to T’un-min or 
Tuen Moon O, an old Chinese name for an anchorage off Lin Tin Island, the 
pronunciation of which in Cantonese has a sound similar to the Portuguese 
version. ‘This would be the name given to the entire anchorage, and the 
Portuguese could very easily have applied the name of the anchorage to the 
island off which they anchored’. The ‘Tamdo' of the Portuguese, p. 431. Prof. 

Moule tells me, however, that ‘A recent and on the whole reliable Geo- 
graphical Dictionary {Ku chin ti ming ta tz’u tien) gives Nan-t’ou city as a 
name of the district city of Pao-an on the mainland. T’un-mSn (also called 




custom of 
land and 
sea cap- 
tains in 

Fol. i 6 iv. 

the lord of Nan-t’ou sends word to Canton and merchants im- 
mediately come to value the merchandise and to take their dues, as 
will be told later. Then they bring them the merchandise made 
up from one part and another. Each one returns to his home. 

They affirm that all those who take merchandise from Canton 
to the islands make a profit of three, four or five in every ten, and 
the Chinese have this custom so that the land shall not be taken 
from them, as well as in order to receive the dues on the 
merchandise exported as well as imported; and the chief [reason] 
is for fear lest the city be taken from them, because they say that 
the city of Canton is a rich one, and corsairs often come up to it. 
Hi Taao\ one of the chief people, is captain of this city, and there 
is a captain every year by the king’s decree, and he cannot remain 
[in office] longer. There is another sea-captain almost like the 
land one, with separate jurisdiction. Both are changed yearly. 

They say that the Chinese made this law about not being able 
to go to Canton for fear of the Javanese and Malays, for it is 

Pei-tu) is the name of an island south of Pao-an; and there was a military post 
called formerly T’un-men, but in the Ming dynasty Nan-t’ou, which was at 
the anchorage or harbour south-east of Pao-an. So the text seems to be 
correct in calling Turnon an island, and it is more likely that the harbour was 
named after the island than vice versa. The ‘Lord of Namtou’ may be the 
magistrate of Pao-an (= Nan-t’ou), or the commander of the garrison at 
Nan-t’ou military post’. Further on Pires says that Turnon is 20 or 30 leagues 
distant from Canton (Correia and Castanheda say 18 leagues): Lin Tin 
Island is really about 65 miles or 20 leagues from Canton by river. Pires says 
also that Turnon lies one league (3.2 miles) from Nan-t’ou on the mainland. 
The shortest distance between Lin Tin and Nan-t’ou Peninsula is about five 
miles. Castanheda, Barros, and Gdis say that Tamao or Turnon was three 
leagues from the mainland, but as the anchorage was on the western side of 
the island and Nan-t’ou is eastwards, Pires’ information is not so far out as it 
seems at first sight. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 40) is the first to show this island, 
but bearing only the inscription: ‘off this island anchor the junks of China’, 
meaning the junks which went from Malacca to the Canton River. It is 
situated nearer to the north bank of a large river, which has written at its 
mouth: ‘The mouth of the strait of China’. I do not know of any map with 
the name Turnon, or the like, though Jlhas da veniaga and Jlhas de Cantam, 
which include Turnon, appear for the first time on L. Homem’s map of 1554. 
Pires’ information shows that before being the anchorage of the Portuguese 
ships. Turnon was already the anchorage of the ships from Malacca; in this 
he is confirmed by Rodrigues’ map. 

' Hi Tado, i.e., the Hai Tao, an officer charged with coast defence. Chang 
(p. 54) says that he was the commander of the fleet at Canton. It seems that 
Pires mixed up the information he obtained. 



certain that one of these people’s junks would rout twenty 
Chinese junks. They say that China has more than a thousand 
junks, and each of them trades where it sees fit; but the people 
are weak, and such is their fear of Malays and Javanese that it 
is quite certain that one [of our] ship[s] of four hundred tons 
could depopulate Canton, and this depopulation would bring 
great loss to China. 

Not to rob any country of its glory, it certainly seems that 
China is an important, good and very wealthy country, and the 
Governor of Malacca would not need as much force as they say 
in order to bring it under our rule, because the people are very 
weak and easy to overcome. And the principal people who have 
often been there affirm that with ten ships the Governor of 
India who took Malacca could take the whole of China along 
the sea-coast. And China is twenty days’ sail distant for our 
ships. They leave here at the end of June for a good voyage, and 
with a monsoon wind they can go in fifteen days. From China 
they have recently begun sailing to Borneo {Burney), and they 
say that they go there in fifteen days, and that this must have 
been for the last fifteen years. 

The chief merchandise is pepper — of which they will buy Merchan- 
ten junk-loads a year if as many go there — cloves, a little nut- 
meg, a little more pachak, catechu; they will buy a great deal of china 
incense, elephants’ tusks, tin, apothecary’s lignaloes; they buy a that goes 
great deal of Borneo camphor, red beads, white sandalwood, 
brazil, infinite quantities of the black wood that grows in 
Singapore (Syngapura); they buy a great many carnelians from 
Cambay, scarlet camlets, coloured woollen cloths. Pepper apart, 
they make little account of all the rest. 

The said junks from Malacca go and anchor off the island of 
Turnon, as has already been said, twenty or thirty leagues away 
from Canton. These islands are near the land of Nan-t’ou, a 
league to seaward from the mainland. Those from Malacca 
anchor there in the port of Turnon and those from Siam in the 
port of Huchant^. Our port is three leagues nearer to China than 

^ Perhaps some of the islands forming or adjoining the Lantau Channel, 
such as Chung-chou, which lies about four and a half miles south of Lin Tin, 
towards the sea. 


levied in 

China on 





in China 
— large 

Fol. i62r. 

stuffs : 


the Siamese one, and merchandise comes to it rather than to the 

As soon as the lord of Nan-t’ou sees the junks he immed- 
iately sends word to Canton that junks have gone in among the 
islands; the valuers from Canton go out to value the merchan- 
dise; they receive their dues; they bring just the amount of 
merchandise that is required: the country is pretty well accus- 
tomed to estimate it, so well do they know of you the goods you 
want, and they bring them. 

They pay twenty per cent on pepper, fifty per cent on brazil, 
and the same amount on the Singapore wood; and when this has 
been estimated a junk will pay so much in proportion. They 
receive their dues on the other merchandise at ten per cent; and 
they do not oppress you; they have genuine merchants in their 
dealings. They are very wealthy. Their whole idea is pepper. 
They sell their foodstuffs honestly; business over, each returns 
to his own country. The common people are not very near to 
truth, and the commoner things in their business are all false 
and counterfeit. 

Once in China, a hundred catties are called a piquo\ then you 
make your price: so many piquos of pepper for one of silk or so 
many of such and such goods for one of pepper; and it is just the 
same with musk, so many catties of pepper for one of musk, 
[or] seed-pearls. A picoll^ contains a hundred catties; each catty 
contains sixteen taels; each tael contains ten mazes', each maz^ 
contains ten pm. Each catty contains twenty-one ounces of our 
measure. Three hundred and twelve catties of twenty-one 
ounces each make a Malacca bahar on the small scales. 

All these goods are sold by weight, to wit, so many measures 
of such and such for one of pepper; and when the merchants 
take it there is [an arrangement] among them in the country — so 

' Piquo or pico, picoll or picul, is the Malay and Javanese pikul, ‘a man’s 
load’, for the Chinese weight of loo catties, equal to 133^ lb. or about 60 kg. 

^ The value of the maz was variable in the different far-eastern countries. 
Maz or 'mace was adopted in the language of European traders in China to 
denominate the tenth part of the Chinese Hang or tael of silver’. Hobson- 
jfobson, s.v. See note p. 145. These weights are given quite correctly by Fires. 
Catty is the Malay kati, tael the Hindi tola (through the Portuguese), mace 
the Hindi masha, and pon the Chinese fin (also called candareen, from the 
Malay Kondrin). 



many weights of such and such a foodstuff for one of fuseleira 
cash, which are current in the country like ceitis, and for large 
merchandise and other purchases gold and silver [is used] for 

The chief merchandise from China is raw white silk in large Merchan- 
quantities, and loose coloured silks, many in quantity, satins of that 
all colours, damask chequered enrolados in all colours, taffetas 
and other thin silk cloths called xaas^, and many other kinds of 
all colours; an abundance of seed-pearl in various shapes, mostly 
irregular; they also have some big round ones — this in my 
opinion is as important a merchandise in China as silk, although 
they count silk as the chief merchandise — musk in powder and 
in pods, plenty of this, and certainly good, which yields in 
nothing to that from Pegu; apothecary’s camphor in large 
quantities, abarute, alum, saltpetre, sulphur, copper, iron, 
rhubarb, and all of it is worthless — what I have seen up to the 
present has been rotten when it arrived; they say it used to come 
fresh; I have not seen it — vases of copper and fuseleira, cast iron 
kettles, bowls, basins, quantities of these things, boxes, fans, 
plenty of needles of a hundred different kinds, some of them 
very fine and well made, these are good merchandise, and things 
of very poor quality like those which come to Portugal from 
Flanders, countless copper bracelets; gold and silver come and I 
did not see much, and many brocades of their kind, and porce- 
lains beyond count. Of the things which come from China some 
are products from China itself and some from outside, some of 
them from places renowned as being better than others. You can 
spend your money on whatever of this merchandise you fancy, 
except that there is not so much musk to be found. They say 
that not more than one bahar comes from China each year in all 
junks. The land of China produces plenty of good sugar. There 
is a place called Xamcy where there is musk; it has a little and it 

* Xaas, sash or shash, from the Arab shash, muslin — ‘A band of a fine 
material worn twisted round the head as a turban by Orientals’. Oxford 
English Dictionary, s.v. Sash. Prof. Moule tells me, however, that the 
Chinese sha ‘gauze’ is at least as old as the Han dynasty (206 B.c. — A.D. 200). 

The s of xaas in Pires’ version is probably a plural. Is there any connexion 
between the Arabic shash and the Chinese sha} Apparently no; but xaas (if s 
is plural) may be simply Chinese. 



is good. \In the margin in the same hand are the words i\ ‘The 
city whence the musk comes is called Xdnhu, which is in China, 
and they say that the animals from which they get the musk are 
in fanry'.’ 

The said junks come from China to Malacca and they do not 
pay dues, except for a present; and these presents they give in 
accordance with the decrees of the Xabandares of the different 
nations: the Xahandar of China, Lequios, Cochin China and 
Champa was the Lasamane; and the Xabandares have become 
rich through this function, because they greatly overtax the 
merchants; and these put up with everything because their 
profits are large and also because it is the custom of the country 
to do so and endure it. 

Places where the merchandise comes from: the raw white silk 
is from Chancheo\ coloured silks from Cochin China {Cauchy)\ 
damasks, satins, brocades, xaaSy loos^ from Nanking (Namqim) 
and from Amqm^\ seed-pearl from Hainan (Ayna); apothecary’s 
camphor from Chamcheo. \In the margin in the same hand:] ‘In 

* Xamcy and Qangy both seem to represent the province of Shensi, the 
characters for which are pronounced Shansi. In English it is written Shensi 
for the province in North-west China, simply in order to distinguish it from 
Shansi, the province in North China, separated by the Yellow River where it 
flows north-south. Prof. Moule tells me that this is derived from the early 
Missionaries — Portuguese (?) and certainly French — to whom Chen and Chan 
provide a convenient distinction without seriously distorting the sound. 

Xanbu may very well be Si-an-fu, capital of Shensi, the Kenjanfu of 
Marco Polo (ii, xli), who emphasises its importance as 'a city of great trade 
and industry’. Several early writers refer to the musk of China as coming 
from regions neighbouring on Shensi, such as the Szechwan province, and 
from Tibet. See Yule, Marco Polo, i, 279, n, 35, 49; Cathay, i, 246, 316, etc. 

2 Crooke mentions a reference, in a Madras list of 1684, to ‘gold flowered 
toes', which is supposed to be a ‘name invented for the occasion to describe 
some silk stuff brought from the Liu Kiu Islands’. Hobson-Jobson, p. 514. 
But no doubt the word really existed, as the pronunciation of loes in English 
and loos in Portuguese has the same value. The Chinese lo means ‘coarse 
silk’. The s of Pires’ loos may be the Portuguese plural, the same as with xaas. 
Dr. Lionel Giles suggests that the word loos might be derived from the 
Chinese lo-ssA, meaning a thin kind of silk. 

3 Datnqm or de Amquem might suggest Marco Polo’s Unken — or Vnquem, 
as it appears in the first Portuguese Marco Paulo (Lisbon, 1502). Unken, 
however, has not been identified with any similar Chinese name, so the 
chance likeness of Amquem does not seem to have much significance. This 
part of the Chinese coast is called costa de ucheu on Homem’s map of 1554. 
See note on Foqem, pp. 129—30. 



this Nanking there are all the cotton cloths and big merchants; 
it is a month’s journey from Peking {Peqim) to Nanking (Ndnqy) 
by river.’ And because [our knowledge of] these places is un- 
satisfactory, and because this merchandise is recognizable at 
sight, I will not discuss them any more. 

Salt is a great merchandise among the Chinese. It is distri- 
buted from China to these regions; and it is dealt with by fifteen 
hundred junks which come to buy it, and it is loaded in China to 
go to other places. Traders in this are very rich and they say to 
one another among themselves ‘Are you a salt merchant to 
speak of?’ 

Beyond the port of Canton there is another port which is 
called Oquem^'y it is three days’ journey by land and a day and 
night by sea. This is the port for the Lequjos and other races. 
It has many other ports, which it would be a long business 
to tell of, and they do not concern us at present, except up 
to Canton {Qmtom), because this is the key to the kingdom of 

They say that there are people from Tartary {Tartaria) in the 
land of China and they call them Tartars (tartall), and these 
people are very white with red beards. They ride on horseback; 
they are warlike. And they say that they go from China to the 
land of the Tartars (tartaros) in two months, and that in Tartary 
they have horses shod with copper shoes, and this must be 
because China extends a long way on the northern side, and our 
bombardiers say that in Germany they heard tell of these 
people and of a city named by the Chinese Quesechama^, and it 
seems to them that by this route they could go to their lands in a 
short time; but they say that by reason of the cold the land is 
uninhabited. Between the Chinese and the Tartars are certain 

* Oquem corresponds to Foquem, or Fukien. Prof. Moule tells me that the 
local sound of Fu is Hok, with an h which might easily be dropped, as the h 
of Hainan was dropped. The Italian traveller Francesco Carletti brought 
home in 1603 a Chinese Atlas in which Fukien was transcribed by him as 
Ochiam. Cf. Moule, A Note on the Chinese Atlas in the Magliabecchian 

Library, p. 292 - 

2 Que se chama or q se chama, as it appears in the manuscript, means ‘which 
is called’. It is possible that Pires wrote some word or words corresponding 
to the Chinese name for a city in Tartary, which the transcriber transformed 
into q se chama. 



places where there are the Guores\ and after Tartary [is] Russia 
{Roxia)y say the Chinese. 

Fol. i 62 v. And as no inland countries beyond China which deal with 
Malacca are at present known, I make a stop. [A hne here marks 
the beginning of an addition to the text which is written in the 
margin, in the same hand — perhaps a couple of lines at first left 
out by the transcriber. The manuscript was badly cropped in 
binding, the greater part of the words having been cut away 
beyond possibility of reconstitution. See Portuguese text, p. 460.] 
From here onwards we will speak of the islands and only of 
those to which [the people of] Malacca sail, because if they all 
had to be mentioned there would be no end because of their 
infinite numbers. And now we will speak of the Lequjos and 
Japan {Jampom), Burneus and Lugoees. 

[liu kiu] 

The The Lequeos are called Guores — they are known by either of 

Ltu Kiu these names^. Lequios is the chief one. The king is a heathen and 


Island. ^ Who are these Guores} In this case they could hardly be the Lequeos. 
Prof. Moule wonders whether they are not the Mongols (Moguors). 

^ The earliest European reference to the Gores is in a letter written 6 Feb. 
1510 from Malacca to Albuquerque, by Rui de Araiijo who had been taken 
prisoner when the treacherous attack was made against the first Portuguese 
to go there in 1509. Alguns Documentos, p. 223. Ferrand mentions two 
Arab manuscripts, dated respectively 1462 and 1489, where the island Ghur 
is referred to as meaning Liu-Kiu or Formosa (L’ile de Ghur = Lieou-K’ieou 
= Formosa). According to Ferrand the 1462 MS says: ‘Parmi les iles c^lfebres 
[du monde habits], on compte Pile de Likyu, qui est gdn^ralement connue 
sous le nom de Al-Ghur’; the 1489 MS has: ‘On y trouve des mines de fer 
[appel^] al-ghurl . . . Son nom en langue djawi (in this case the Chinese) est 
Likiwu’. Malaka, ii, 126 seqq. This would explain the association of the name 
gores with lequeos. As far as we know, the first Europeans to visit the Lequeos 
islands were Femao Mendes Pinto, Diogo Zeimoto and Simao Borralho, 
when they went to Japan in 1542. Peregrinagao, cxxxii. Some months later 
Pinto went again from China to the Lequeos, where he was shipwrecked: he 
gives a description of the Ilha Lequia and his adventures there in ch. cxxxvii- 
cxlvii of his famous book. C. R. Boxer supposes that the Gores who went to 
Malacca, as mentioned in the Comentarios, were meant to be the Japanese. 
Some Aspects of Portuguese Influence in Japan, 1542—1640, p. 14. Crawfurd, 
Dictionary, s.v. Japan. Denuc 4 says that Gores is a ‘nom d’origine probable- 
ment chinoise et qui parait d^river de Coriai, les Cor^ens’ {Magellan, p. 164); 
according to Chassigneux, during the first half of the fifteenth century 
numerous Koreans sought refuge in the Liu-Kiu archipelago. Rica de Oro 


Rodrigues’ sketch (fol. 42) of an island which 

Formosa (p. 525) 

must represent 



all the people too. He is a tributary vassal of the king of the 
Chinese. His island is large and has many people; they have 
small ships of their own type; they have three or four junks 
which are continuously buying in China, and they have no more. 
They trade in China and in Malacca, and some times in com- 
pany with the Chinese, sometimes on their own. In China they 
trade in the port of Foqew} which is in the land of China near 

et Rica de Plata, pp. 76 seqq. Whatever the origin of the word Gores, Pires 
was the first European to identify it with the Lequeos, or the inhabitants of the 
Liu-Kiu archipelago, from the Chinese name for the present Japanese 
Ryukyu or Loochoo Islands. Formosa is, however, included among these 
islands on old Chinese and some early Portuguese maps; and much of what is 
said here seems to refer to Formosa rather than to Loochoo proper. In his 
letter of 10 Aug. 1518, S. P. Andrade says: ‘There are in the sea [far] from 
India other lands, which are isles called the Islands of the Lequeos, reaching 
as far as the Tartars, where there are great gold mines, and all the merchan- 
dise that exists in China, off [the coast of] which they lie two hundred 
leagues away; they are white people like Germans.’ Torre do Tomho, Gaveta 
15, Mafo 17, No. 27. On the representation of the Lequeos on Rodrigues’ maps 
(ff. 39, 43), see Appendix II. Ribeiro’s maps of 1527 and 1529 have, west of 
Paragua Island, the inscription: ‘These shoals have channels through which 
the Lequios go to Borneo and other parts.’ Penrose’s map has a round mass of 
islands called as lecquas east of Canton, between 17'’ and 20° (correct latitude 
24° — 30° N.). Homem’s map of 1554 has east oi J. fremoza a group of three 
islands called Jlhas dos lequios, and north-north-east of these another island 
called lequios', in addition, all these islands and an imaginary vast archipelago 
to the east are named, in large letters. Os lequios. Homem’s atlases of 1558 
and 1568 have a similar representation, except for the imaginary archipelago 
and large letters naming the whole. The atlases of Luis and Dourado have a 
group of three large islands, running SSW — NNE, which seem to correspond 
to Formosa, the northernmost called lequio pequeno-, further north-east other 
islands, corresponding to the Tsubu Shoto group, are called lequio gramde', 
between the two groups there are some small islands named Reis magos, 
corresponding to the Nambu Shoto group, north of lequio gramde is they, do 
fogo, corresponding to Nakano-shima or Suwanose-shima, two islands with 
active volcanoes. The islands Reis magos and J. do fogo appear for the first 
time on the map of 1554, and then on the others mentioned above. 

* Foqem, or Foquem, must certainly be Fukien, the capital and main port 
of which is Foochow. But the port intended need not necessarily be Foochow, 
which lies some distance up the River Min, and would be less convenient for 
traders than places like Amoy, for instance. From Canton to the nearest point 
of the seacoast of Fukien province is about 350 miles by sea and about 250 
miles by land as the crow flies; Foochow is still 250 miles farther. On the 
other hand, the main group of the Liu Kiu islands is 500 miles away, on the 
same latitude as Foochow, which seems to point to this important Chinese 
port, or some other port of Fukien province, as the more likely to be fre- 
quented by the Lequeos. Furthermore, in his two letters written from Canton 
in 1526, Vasco Calvo refers to the trade of the Lequeos with Fukien, but does 

I H.C.S.I. 

dise which 

bring to 

dise they 
take from 
to their 

130 TOMl^ FIRES 

Canton — a day and a night’s sail away. The Malays say to the 
people of Malacca that there is no difference between Portu- 
guese and Llequjos, except that the Portuguese buy women, 
which the Leqos do not. 

The Lequjos have only wheat in their country, and rice and 
wines after their fashion, meat, and fish in great abundance. 
They are great draftsmen and armourers. They make gilt 
coffers, very rich and well-made fans, swords, many arms of all 
kinds after their fashion. Just as we in our kingdoms speak of 
Milan, so do the Chinese and all the other races speak of the 
Lequjos. They are very truthful men. They do not buy slaves, 
nor would they sell one of their own men for the whole world, 
and they would die over this. 

The Lequjos are idolaters; if they are sailing and find them- 
selves in danger, they say that if they escape they buy a beautiful 
maiden to be sacrificed and behead her on the prow of the junk, 
and other things like these. They are white men, well dressed, 
better than the Chinese, more dignified. They sail to China and 
take the merchandise that goes from Malacca to China, and go 
to Japan, which is an island seven or eight days’ sail distant, and 
take the gold and copper in the said island in exchange for their 
merchandise. The Leqios are men who sell their merchandise 
freely for credit, and if they are lied to when they collect pay- 
ment, they collect it sword in hand. 

The chief is gold, copper, and arms of all kinds, coffers, boxes 
(caxonjas) with gold leaf veneer, fans, wheat, and their things are 
well made. They bring a great deal of gold. They are truthful 
men — more so than the Chinese — and feared. They bring a 
great store of paper and silk in colours; they bring musk, porce- 
lain, damask; they bring onions and many vegetables. 

They take the same merchandise as the Chinese take. They 
leave here in [blank], and one, two or three junks come to 
Malacca every year, and they take a great deal of Bengal clothing. 

not mention Canton (pp. 156, 163). It seems as if Fires mixed up the infor- 
mation he received, and his Amqm, Oquem and Foqem correspond to Fukien 
perhaps Foochow, which is called Fucheo by Pinto and in the atlases of Luis 
and Dourado. It is curious that Mercator’s world map of 1569 and Ortelius’ 
Atlas of 1570 have a place called Fuquian, near the coast but not a seaport 
between Canton and Chincheo, 



Among the Lequjos Malacca wine is greatly esteemed. They 
load large quantities of one kind which is like brandy, with 
which the Malays make themselves [so drunk as to run] amuck. 
The Lequjos bring swords worth thirty cruzados each, and many 
of these. 


The island of Japan {Jampony), according to what all the Island of 
Chinese say, is larger than that of the Lequios, and the king is 
more powerrul and greater, and is not given to trading, nor [are] 
his subjects. He is a heathen king, a vassal of the king of China. 

They do not often trade in China because it is far off and they 
have no junks, nor are they seafaring men. 

The Lequjos go to Japan in seven or eight days and take the 
said merchandise, and trade it for gold and copper. All that 
comes from the Lequeos is brought by them from Japan. And the 
Lequeos trade with the people of Japan in cloths, fishing-nets^ 
and other merchandise. 

• Jampon, or Japan, is only one of the many far-eastern names which are 
found in a European form for the first time in Pires’ Suma. Dahlgren, follow- 
ing Teleki and Gezelius, wrote in 1911: ‘La premiere fois que le nom du 
Japon (Giapam) se retrouve en Europe, est sur la carte de Gastaldi de 1550. 

Les debuts de la Cartographie du Japon, pp. 13-15. Yule (Hobson- Jobson) 
quotes a letter of 1505, from the king of Portugal to the king of Castille, 
which mentions an island Saponin, whither the king of Calicut sent a ship to 
fetch some astrological instruments; he thinks, though without any apparent 
ground, that the island in question was Japan. It is extraordinary that be- 
tween Pires and Gastaldi no extant document mentions the word Japan. 
According to Yule, ‘out Japan was probably taken from the M^alay Japun or 
Japdng' . Marco Polo’s 'Chipangu represents the Chinese Jih-pin-kwe, the 
kingdom of Japan, the name Jih-pin [literally. Sun-root, or Rising Sun] 
being the Chinese pronunciation’. Marco Polo, ii, 256. See Crawfurd, 
Dictionary, s.v. Japan. Thus the origin of Pires’ Jampon is obvious. On the 
possible representation of Japan on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 41), see Appendix. 

II. Homem’s map of 1554 is the first Portuguese document where the word 
japam appears after Pires. The first special map of Japan by a European is 
found in Dourado’s atlas of 1568. In spite of all the controversy about the 
names of the first Europeans who visited Japan, it can be asserted that the 
discoverers were Fernao Mendes Pinto, Diogo Zeimoto and Simao Borralho, 
and that the discovery was made in 1 542, as I have shown elsewhere. 

* Panos lucoees might mean 'Lugbes cloths’; but in his description of the 
Lugoes Pires does not mention any cloths, which, in any case, were not likely 
to be taken by the Lequeos to Japan. It seems more probable that luco ees, 
i.e. lucoes, is the plural of lucdo, an old Portuguese word for fishing-net. 




Island of 



Fol. lOjr, 

dise which 
the Bor- 
bring to 


Borneo is made up of many islands, large and smalB. They are 
almost all inhabited by heathen, only the chief one is inhabited 
by Moors; it is not long since the king became a Moor. They 
seem to be a trading people. The merchants are men of medium 
stature, not very sharpwitted. They trade direct with Malacca 
every year. It is a country with plenty of meat, fish, rice and sago. 

They bring gold, which is of low assay value, lower than any 
other gold in these parts; they bring every year up to two or 
three bahars of very valuable camphor. A catty of this varies in 
value according to the size [of the lumps]: the cate [is worth] 
from twelve to thirty or forty cruzados according to the kind and 
quality. They have a great many chebulic myrobalans which they 
bring to sell. 

They bring wax, honey, rice and sago, [which] is a foodstuff 
for the lower classes — a sort of bread crumbs made up like 
sweetmeats — and is of value. They bring orracas. 

They do not pay duties in Malacca; they hand over a present, 
which comes to the same thing, because the man who has to 
produce it is told by the xabandar what present he has to give. 

' When Fires mentions several islands around Borneo, and Tantjompura, 
Laue, Quedomdoam, Samper, Cate and Pamucd as separate islands — though 
the latter are probably parts of the island of Borneo itself — he shows that he 
rejdly thought he was correct in saying: ‘Borneo is made up of many islands, 
large and small’. In most cases, however, when Fires mentions Burney he 
means simply the port of Brunei. On the representation of Borneo on 
Rodrigues’ maps (fols. 35, 36), see Appendix II. In his letter to the king of 
Fortugal from Malacca, 6 Jan. 1514, Rui de Brito wrote, perhaps after Fires 
had written his references to Burney: 'Borneu is a large island, it lies between 
China and the Moluccas, in the open sea of the islands; the people of the 
island are called Luzons {lucoees)'. Cartas, iii, 92-3. Barbosa refers to the 
‘Isles of Borneo’, also placing them too much to the north, beyond the island 
of Solor (Sulu archipelago). Torreno’s map of 1522 has an ysla de burney, 
obviously inspired by some drawing similar to that of Figafetta (see note on 
Laue, p. 224), and the same applies to the Turin map of c. 1523, on which 
there is also the port of bruney, on the isla de bruney. Most of the sixteenth- 
century Fortuguese maps do not show the east coast of Borneo, and others, 
in which the coastline of the island appears complete, are very fanciful. The 
first fairly accurate and complete cartographical representation of Borneo is 
found on Berthelot’s map of 1635, where the eastern coast of the island bears 
the inscription: ‘This Island of Borneo was circumnavigated by Fedro 
Berthelot in the year 1627.’ 



They take clothing from the Kling and from Bengal, viz. 
chequered enrolados^ certain kinds of puravas^y synahafos of 
all kinds, panchauilizes and synhavas\ they take Chinese arm- 
lets of brass; they take a great deal of coloured glass beads from 
Cambay, and pearl beads; they ask for red beads; and with these 
they go about the islands where there is gold and take it in 
exchange for the cloth, and for the beads only. 

They have every year two monsoons to bring them and two 
others to take them back. They go from Malacca to Borneo in a 
month and their junks make the return voyage in another. The 
Borneans seems to be peacable men. 


The Lufoes are about ten days’ sail beyond Borneo. They are 
nearly all heathen; they have no king, but they are ruled by 
groups of elders. They are a rubust people, little thought of in 
Malacca. They have two or three junks, at the most. They take 
the merchandise to Borneo and from there they come to 

* Puravd, ox pur auaa as written by Pires, is an Indian cotton cloth. 

* This is the first European reference to the Philippine Archipelago, called 
Lufoes from its largest and north-westernmost island, Luzon. The Philippine 
Islands are called ‘by the Indians Lufon, from the principal island which is 
called Lufon’, as Pyrard de Laval (ii, 171) says he learned from the Portu- 
guese. Galvao (p. 239) informs us that in June 1545 a Portuguese called Pero 
Fidalgo left the city of Borneo on a junk, and by contrary winds was driven 
towards the north, where he found an island in nine or ten degrees, which 
they called dos Lufoes, because its inhabitants were thus named. This voyage 
is recorded in the atlases of Luis and Dourado, in an inscription on a fanciful 
drawing named Costa de lucoes (Luis, 1563) or OS LVCOIS (Dourado, 
1580), which reads: costa de lufoes e laos por omde p° fidalgo vimdo de borneo 
num Jumco de chis e coreo com temporal ao lomgo della foi tomar llamao 
(Luis; similarly in Dourado). Leaving aside the possible representation of 
Luzon by the Lloufam inscribed by Rodrigues (map fol. 36) as a port on the 
north coast of Borneo (see Appendix II), this is the first time Lufoes appears 
on a map, though the south-east part of the Philippines had already been 
represented on Torreno’s map of 1522, as a consequence of Magellan’s 
expedition. After that the Penrose map and the map of c. 1540 have a much 
better representation of the southern part of the archipelago, which gradually 
improved in successive maps. Galvao gives the date of the first known 
Portuguese visit to Luzon, but it is quite likely that some other Portuguese 
ship on the China voyage had called before at the Lufoes, either on purpose 
or by accident. The ‘Account of the Genoese Pilot’ (Leone Pancaldo) says 
that when, in March 1521, Magellan’s expedition arrived at the small island 

dise they 
take from 





The Borneans go to the lands of the Lufoes to buy gold, and 
foodstuffs as well, and the gold which they bring to Malacca is 
from the Lufdes and from the surrounding islands which are 
countless; and they all have more or less trade with one another. 
And the gold of these islands where they trade is of a low quality 
— indeed very low quality. 

The Lufoes have in their country plenty of foodstuffs, and 
wax and honey; and they take the same merchandise from here as 
the Borneans take. They are almost one people; and in Malacca 
there is no division between them. They never used to be in 
Malacca as they are now; but the Tomunguo whom the Governor 
of India appointed here was already beginning to gather many 
of them together, and they were already building many houses 
and shops. They are a useful people; they are hard-working. 

Of this family there are now the sons of the Tumunguo and his 
wife in Malacca, as well as his mother-in-law, and Curia Raja 
and Tuam Brajy who married the Tumunguo’ s wife. In 
Minjam there must be five hundred Lugbes, 5ome of them 
important men and good merchants, who want to come to 
Malacca, and the people of Mjjam will not grant them per- 
mission, because now they have gone over to the side of the 
former king of Malacca, not very openly. The people of 
Mjmjam are Malays. 

I have told all about the mainland from Cambay to China, 
including some islands near China. Now I will begin to tell of 
the great island of Sumatra, going from Malacca to the Moluccas. 

The first will be the island of Sumatra and round Gamispola 
on the channel side and turning along the Panchur side back to 

And then will come the account of the island of Java {Jaaoa) 
and of the kingdom of Sunda mentioning the ports and 

their lords, [and the] junks and pangajavas there are in each. 

And afterwards [the account] of the island of Solor, and of 
Timor, and of Bima, Sumbawa (Cimdaua), Sapeh {Qapee) and 
then going towards the Moluccas, etc. 

of Malhou, in the south-eastern Philippine Islands, the natives informed 
them that ‘they had already seen there other men like them’, which suggests 
that possibly even before 1521 the Portuguese had visited the archipelago. 
(Cardeal Saraiva edition, Obras completas, vi, 126). 



[Sumatra — Java — South-eastern Islands — Banda, Ceram, 
Amboina — Moluccas — Central Islands] 


D ESCRIPTION or account of the great, rich and popu- poi i6jv 
lous Island of Sumatra (Camotora) and of the islands 
which are around it, and it will be described all the way 
round, beginning at Gamispola along the channel and going 
round by Pamchur back to Gamispola. 

And first I will tell how many kingdoms it has, and then what 
each is like and the trade and the kind of merchandise there is in 
the said island and how big it is and what it has in the way of 
lancharas and junks. 

Beginning from Gamispola there is the kingdom of Ach in Kingdom 
(Achei) and Biar Lambry, the kingdom of Pedir, the kingdom of 
Pirada, the kingdom of Pase {Pagee), the kingdom of Bata, the Sumatra 
kingdom of Am, the kingdom of Arcat, the kingdom of Rupat, 
the kingdom oT Siak {Ciac), the kingdom of Kampar {Campar), 
the kingdom of Tongkal {Tuncall), the kingdom of Indragiri 
(Amdargery), the kingdom of Capocam, the kingdom of Trimtall 

' In his description of Sumatra Fires mentions, besides the Gamispola and 
other islands, nineteen rdnos (kingdoms) and eleven terras (lands or coun- 
tries); Reino de Achey e Lambry, Terra de Biar, Reino de Pedir, Terra de 
Aeilabu, Reino de Lide, Reino de Pirada, Reino de Pacee, Reino de Bata, Reino 
de Daru, Reino de Arcat, Terra de Yrcan, Reino de Rupat, Terra de Purim, 
Reino de Ciac, Reino de Campar, Terra de Campocam, Reino de Andarguerij, 
Terra de Tuncall, Terra dejamby. Terra de Palimbdo, Terra de Tana Malaio, 
Terra de Qacampom, Terra de Ttdimbavam, Reino de Andallos, Reino de 
Pirama, Reino de Tiquo, Reino de Barus, Reino de Quinchell, Reino de Mancopa 
or Daya, Reino de Menancabo. In his description of the island, Barros says: 
‘When we entered India this great Island was divided into 29 kingdoms. . . . 
Beginning from the westernmost and northernmost (though Barros by mis- 
take says austral) point of the Island, and going round from the North, the 
first is called Daya-, and those that follow, as the coast continues, are Lambrij, 
Achem, Biar, Pedir, Lide, Pirada, Pacem, Bara, Daru, Arcat, Ircan, Rupat, 
Purij, Cidca, Campar, Capocam, Andraguerij, Jambij, Palimbam, Tana, 
Malayo, Sacampam, Tulumbauam, Andaloz, Piridman, Tico, Barros, Quinchel, 
Mancopa, which brings us to Lambrij, bordering on Daya, the first we named’ 




a channel 



to Palem- 



which one 

sails to 



and the 


This is the 
dise which 
is pro- 
duced in 
the Island 
of Sum- 
atra itself. 


[Tongkal?], the kingdom of Jambi, the kingdom of Palembang 
{Palimbao), the lands of Sekampung {Qafanpotn), Tulang 
Bawang {Tulimbavam), Andalas {Andallos), Priaman {Pirjaman), 
Tico (Tiguo), Panchur, Baros (Baruez), Singkel {Chinqele), Mela- 
bah {Mancopa), Daya, Pirim [Pedir?] — this borders on Lambry 
and the islands which are off Gamispola. And from Siak to 
Jambi, and from Priaman to Panchur on the other side, is the 
land of Menangkabau (Menamcabo), which has three kings. 
They are in the interior of the island, and there is a lake of sweet 
water in this land of Menangkabau, as will be told when 
Menangkabau is dealt with. 

Pulo Pisang {Pullo Pifam), Karimun {Carimam), islands of the 
Celates which are called ^elaguym gum, Kundur (Sabam), 
Buaya, Linga, Tiga {Tiguo), Pulo Berhala {Pullo Baralam), 
Banka {Bamca) and Monomby. These will be described in their 

It has gold in great quantities, edible camphor of two kinds, 
pepper, silk, benzoin, apothecary’s lignaloes; it has honey, wax, 
pitch, sulphur, cotton, many rattans, which are canes from 
which they make mats. It is used like coir or esparto and serves 
as string with which they tie everything up. 

(hi, V, i). All these are given as ‘kingdoms’, though Pires discriminates be- 
tween ‘kingdoms’ and ‘lands’. Besides some spelling variations — like Bata, 
which appears in Barros as Bara — Pires’ Terra de Aeilabu and Terra de Tun- 
call are suppressed in Barros, Tana Malaio is given as two separate kingdoms, 
and Mancopa and Daya seem to be different kingdoms. The kingdom of 
Menancabo is mentioned by Barros in other places. However, the similarity 
between the two lists of names (even Daru, which Barros in other places 
writes de Aru, is here given as Pires wrote it) is sufficiently striking to suggest 
that Barros used Pires’ work, directly or at second hand. Some of the places 
here called reinos or terras were simple towns of some trading importance, 
like Pedir, Aeilabu, Lide, Pirada and Pacee, on a coast of only eighty-four 
miles as the crow flies. Many of them have either totally disappeared or only 
survive in the name of some little river or unimportant village. Although 
Pires visited many ports on the coast of Sumatra, he knew but little of the 
hinterland, and formed his opinion mostly from the information he gathered 
in Malacca. But his account is none the less valuable. All other writers before 
Pires, Europeans as well as Asiatics, mention only a few places when they 
deal with Sumatra; even Barbosa, who wrote a little later, mentions no more 
than seven places — Pedir, Pansem, Achem, Compar, Andiagao (Indragiri), 
Macaboo (Menangkabau) and Ara (Aru); a couple of centuries had to elapse 
before a more complete and accurate description of Sumatra was written. 



It has plenty of rice — white and in the husk; it has much meat Food- 
and fish, including shad in quantities as large as in Azamor; it 
has oils, many wines of their kind, including tampoy^, which is country. 
almost like our wine; they have fruits in large numbers, includ- 
ing durians, certainly lovelier and more delicious than all the 
other fruits. 

In the island of Sumatra most of the kings are Moors and Sects and 

some are heathens; and in the heathen country some men make a 

^ . -11 1 mi Island 

practice or eating their enemies when they capture them. The of Suma- 

kings on the channel side from Achin to Palembang are Moors, tra. 

and from Palembang going around Gamispola are mostly 

heathens, and those of the hinterland and who live inland are 

heathens also. 

The islands which are called Gamispola are two or three and i4or. 
more, near the land of Achin and Lamhry. There must be about 
ten or fifteen islands three or four leagues round and the sea be- 
tween them is two, three or four leagues, and it is twenty or 
thirty fathoms near the land^. 

* Tampoy is the fruit of the tampoi-tree, a species of Baccaurea, (Euphor- 
biaceae), with roundish, thick-skinned fruit borne only a few in a bunch. 
Among the several species of this genus, Burkill mentions ‘B. malayana King, 
a big tree found in Sumatra, and in the Malay Peninsula in most parts. . . . 
The jungle tribes make its fruiting-season an occasion of feasting, and prepare 
a fermented liquor from the fruit’. Op. cit., p. 279. The fruits of another 
species, Baccaurea Motleyana Muell.-Arg., found throughout western Mal- 
aysia, may also be fermented and made into a liquor. Ibid., p. 280. Corner 
identifies the tampoi with Baccaurea Oriffithii, a Malaya tree. Wayside Trees 
of Malaya, i, 240. Dalgado (s.v.) says that tampoi is the name of the fruit of a 
Malacca tree, Artocarpus Gomeziana, from which a very sweet liquor is made. 
A. Gomeziana Wall., however, is the native tampang or tapang, not the tam- 
poi. See Burkill, p. 253. Eredia, just a hundred years after Pires, describes the 
tampoi thus: ‘And the Tampoe is another tree of the same height (as the 
Mangosteen), and it has a thick-skinned fruit of the colour of cinnamon, and 
in the hollow inside there are sweet seeds like cloves or a head of garlic 
with a stone, and as it is sweet and strong they distil from it a wine like 
muscatel.’ Fols. i6r. and 19V. 

^ Although in the Portuguese text this reads ‘Junto com pom atra de Jlha 
de 9omotora’, it must be a transcriber’s mistake. Pires probably wrote ‘Junto 
com a ponta da Jlha de fomotora’, as translated. 

^ Marco Polo (ii, 300, 307) mentions ‘a very small Island that is called 
Gauenispola’. But Gamispola was the name given to the little archipelago 
immediately off the northernmost point of Sumatra. ‘These Guanispola 
islands are many’, says an early Portuguese rutter. Livro de Marinharia, p. 

Islands in 
front of 
Pose and 
near the 
poinP of 
the Island 
of Suma- 




of Achin 

and the 
land of 
Biar. • 


Some of these islands are inhabited by a few people. They 
have water and a great deal of fish and firewood. They all have 
quantities of sulphur, which supplies Pase and Pedir. 

These islands belong to the king of Achin and their inhabi- 
tants — few as they are — obey him, chiefly [those of] the largest 
[island], which has more inhabitants (?); and there is some trade 
in these islands. They come from the island of Sumatra to do 
fishing and they catch a great deal of fish which is traded in some 
parts of Sumatra. 

Achin is the first country on the channel side of the island of 
Sumatra, and Lambry is right next to it, and stretches inland, 
and the land of Biar is between Achin and Pedir, and now these 
countries are subject to the king of Achin and he rules over them 
and he is the only king there. 

243. The modern names of the four larger islands are W^, Brdeh or Bruas, 
Dobad and Bunta, and there are several islets. The Cantino map has Gaspola\ 
then Rodrigues’ map (fol. 29) has as ilhas de gamispolla; ganyspora on Reinel’s 
map of c. 1517, and similarly on later maps. In Luis’ atlas of 1563 and Dou- 
rado’s atlases of 1568-80, gamispola appears already transformed into gomes 
pola or gomes polla, which is found as well on later maps down to the eigh- 
teenth century. Bowrey (pp. 227-8) mentions Pullo Gomus. The four larger 
islands are called either Gomes Pulo or Pulo Gomes on the later maps. The 
map in Marsden's History of Sumatra still has P°. Gomez as the name of 
Bunta, the south-westernmost islet of the group. 

* Achey — Atjey or Achin, forms today an autonomous government embrac- 
ing all the northern part of Sumatra except for the northernmost tip of Kuta 
Raja, through which flows the river Achin. Pires is the first European writer 
to mention Achin, and the map of c. 1540 is the first to record achey, with 
exactly the same spelling as in Pires. 

Lambry — The Lamuri, Lamori or Lamhri of the Arabs, Marco Polo, Friar 
Oderic and other medieval travellers. Couto refers to the Lamhri mentioned 
by Polo, saying that it ‘still preserves its name in Sumatra’, iv, iii, i. Yule 
says in a note that ‘most of the data about Lambri render it very difficult to 
distinguish it from Achin’, but in the same note Cordier quotes Groene- 
veldt’s opinion {Notes on the Malay Archipelago, 98-100) that Lambri was 
‘on or near the spot of the present Achin’. Marco Polo, ii, 300-1. Dames, 
however, is of opinion that ‘it may have been near Achin, but not so near as 
to be confounded with it’ (ii, 182-4), which he is confirmed by Pires. 
Cordier suggests that a village called Lamreh, situated at Atjeh, near Tung- 
kup (mentioned by Captain M. J. C. Lucardie, Merveilles de I’Inde, p. 235) 
‘might be a remnant of the country of Lameri’. Marco Polo, ii, 301; Cathay, 
II, 146. See G. Schlegel, The Old States in the Island of Sumatra, p. 79. 

Biar — I cannot find any clear trace of the name of this land, situated by 
Pires between Achin and Pedir, with a seacoast corresponding to the present 
Krung Raya Bay and Blang Raya. 



This king is a Moor, a knightly man among his neighbours. 

He uses piracy when he sees an opportunity. He must have 
about thirty or forty lancharas in which he goes to sea. When he 
is in his own country he livei on the crops of his rices and food- 
stuffs. He has rivers which flow through his country into the 
channel and they are of little depth at the mouth. 

These lands produce meat, rices, and wine of their kind, and 
other foodstuffs. They have pepper — not much. The king of 
Pedir is always at war with him, and he [the king of Achin] does 
him a great deal of damage in his country. 

Pedir in the island of Sumatra used to be important and rich Kingdom 
and a trading place, and it had dominion over all the above P^dir^- 
mentioned kingdoms and also over the land of Aeilahu and the 
kingdom of hide and the kingdom of Pirada; and it was at war 
with Pase; and Pedir once held the mouth of the channel. And it 
had all the trade, and they sailed there more than to Pase. 

Until the year fifteen hundred and ten it always had trade. 

Its city is about half a league up a river. The bar is two fathoms 
deep at high tide. The city contains merchants of all nations 
even now. Although it has always war with its neighbours, it has 
not yet fallen away much from what it used to be. 

As many as two ships from Cambay and Bengal trade with 
Pedir every year, and one from Benua Quelim and another from 
Pegu; with the first winds up to twenty small junks and lan- 
charas set sail with rice. Trang trades with them and Tenasse- 
rim, Kedah [and] Bruas. After the taking of Malacca there was 
not so much trade, because of the war they had, especially after 
the death of king Muzaffar Shah, who died leaving | two small FoL 140' 
sons, when others rebelled inside the kingdom and it was always 
at war — which is against trade. 

* Pedir. The name survives in Pedir Point (Lat. 5° 30' N), Kuala Pedir, 
which is the mouth of the principal stream on this part of the coast, and the 
large village of Pedir, where there is still ‘an old ruined Portuguese fort’. 

Malacca Strait Pilot, p. 40 (1924 ed.). ‘Pedir Point lies in 5^ degrees and 
helps to form a bay which extends southwards for one league and a half to 
the port of Pedir, and the west side of Pasem lies 17 leagues south-east of 
Pedir. The port of Pedir is in 5 ^ degrees and has a bar, which runs south- 
eastwards for one league and a half. . . . The coast is rocky up to one league 
from the shore as far as Pasem. This point and river are called Jamhuar’ 
(Jambu-Ayer). Livro de Marinharia, p. 243. 


Aeilabu ^ 


The merchandise that Pedir had, and will have in the future 
when the war is over and it comes into its own again: from six or 
seven to ten thousand bahars of pepper a year — they say that it 
has had as much as fifteen thousand bahars — there is white silk, 
benzoin in the country and its neighbours; there is gold, which 
also comes to Pedir through the interior; and on account of the 
pepper it used to receive a great deal of merchandise, and returns 
of one thing and another, which enriched the kingdom and 
its city. 

And the last four years Pedir must have had from two to three 
thousand bahars of pepper a year, and no more. They say that 
the land is already returning to what it was before (?); on 
account of the war that broke out and of the war that has been 
going on up till now, many merchants have le^t. One of the 
king’s captains is now reigning in Pedir, anT he threw out one 
of the king’s sons, who is now in Pase, out of his kingdom. Pedir 
uses tin coins like ceitis for small money; it has gold dramas^, 
nine of which are worth one cruzado\ it has silver tangos^ like 
those of Siam, Pegu and Bengal, and they are current in the 
country at their value, and for merchandise in great quantities 
[they use] gold dust. The weight of the bahar is the same as in 

The country called Aeilabu is on the sea coast beyond the 

* There was in India an old coin of little value called dramo, recorded in 
some Portuguese dictionaries and in Dalgado {s.v. Dama). Pires’ dramas 
might suggest drachmas, but further on, under the heading ‘Coinage and 
weights used in Pase’, he clearly specifies that dramas is the local name for 
certain small gold coins. In a Chinese book, Ying-yai Sheng-lan (General 
account of the shores of the Ocean), written in 1416 by Ma Huan, it is 
stated ‘the money used (in Sumatra) are coins of gold and tin. The golden 
coins are called dinar and contain seven tenths of pure gold, they are round, 
have a diameter of 5 fin official measure (1.6 centimetres) and weigh 2 fin, 
(otherwise ch'ieri) 3 li (about 10 grammes)’. Groeneveldt, Notes on the Malay 
Archipelago and Malacca, p. 87. It is perhaps not impossible that the Chinese 
character here transliterated as dinar sounded rather like what Pires wrote as 

2 Tanga. The name of a coin used in India and other eastern countries. 
It was made of different metals and was of varying value. The tanga is still a 
monetary unit in Portuguese India, equivalent to sixty reis. Hobson-Jobson and 
Dalgado, s.v. See note p. 20. 

3 Aeilabu corresponds to Kuala Ayer Lebu, the mouth of the river Tiro, 
fifteen miles south-east of Pedir. 



frontiers of Pedir. This place used to have a king and now it has 
a mandarin, a captain vassal to the king of Pedir. This place of 
Aeilabu has a city, where there is a little trade. This place has 
quantities of pepper and the city is on the sea. It has foodstuffs 
for its own use. 

The kingdom of Lide is beyond Aeilabu and borders on Lide * 
Pirada. The king of this country used to be from Pedir; but not 
now. It has places by the sea where some merchandise is traded. 

It has merchants. Pegu trade with it, and other places. There is 
a good amount of foodstuffs in the land of Lide. There is pepper 
and silk in its land. It is friendly with the king of Pedir. This 
kingdom now has lancharas which navigate and trade in mer- 
chandise. It defends itself against its neighbours; it is strong in 
its land. This country is always dependent (?) on Pedir. The 
kings are related. This one is a Moorish king. It has foodstuffs 
for its own use. 

The kingdom of Pirada has more people than the land of Lide Pirada * 
and the king is more powerful. He used to be a vassal of Pedir, 
but not now. It has two towns by the sea; one of them is called 
Medan {Medinay and the other [blanK\. They deal in mer- 
chandise. They have pepper and silk which they take to Pedir, 
and Lide also takes its [pepper and silk] there. They have factors 
in Pedir and are supplied from there. They are related to the 

* Sixteen miles east-south-east of Ayer Lebu debouches the river Ulim or 
Olim; the small village of Ulim is situated a mile from its mouth. This may 
suggest a survival from Pires’ Lidee. E. H. Parker, following Groeneveldt, 
writes — ‘east and adjoining Lambri the Ming Records say there was a state 
subordinate to Sumoltra called Li-fah (or Li-tai) lying to the west of Nagur 
and Sumoltra [or Nakur and Samudra]. This is the exact position of Lide 
according to De Barros’ enumeration of the Petty states he visited’ {sic). The 
Island of Sumatra, p. 141. According to Schlegel the Chinese Li-fah is a 
misprint for Li-te (in a.d. 1416), i.e., Barros’ Lide or Pires’ Lidee. He shows 
also that ‘west’ is an obvious mistake for ‘east’. Op. cit., pp. 65-8. 

2 Five miles east of Ulim lies Cape Pedada, and a mile eastward is the river 
Pedada with a village of the same name near the coast. Seven miles south-east 
there is another river Pidada and a place of the same name. Some of these may 
correspond to Pires’ Pirada. 

3 The Mohit (p. 72) mentions the harbour of Mandara on the east coast, 
about the same latitude as Pedada and Pidada. Another place, Madina, is 
situated by the Mohit (p. 87) much farther to the south-east, corresponding 
to the present Medan. It is possible that Pires confused the order of the 
places when he was gathering his information. 



king of Pedir. They have gold. Pirada produces foodstuffs in its 
[own] land. They trade with it from many parts. It has trade — 
not much. It is powerful enough to defend itself against Pase, 
Fol. i4ir. although the people of whom we are speaking | are more cun- 
ning than powerful, and they say that the people of Pirada are 
extremely malicious, treacherous and untrustworthy. They 
sometimes go robbing at sea. They are at war with the Cafres^ on 

Kingdom The rich kingdom of Pase has many inhabitants and much 
(Pa^Te)^ trade. On one side it is bounded by the kingdom of Pirada, as I 
have already said, and on the other by the land of Bata, the king 
of which is the Tamjano. The land of Pase stretches along by the 
sea coast. Its frontiers on the inland side of the island coincide 
with those of the king of Manicopa, which goes out to the sea 
on the other side, and with whom they are sometimes at war. 

And now, since Malacca has been punished and Pedir is at 
war, the kingdom of Pase is becoming prosperous, rich, with 
many merchants from different Moorish and Kling nations, who 
do a great deal of trade, among whom the most important are the 
Bengalees. There are Rumes, Turks, Arabs, Persians, Gujaratees, 
Kling, Malays, Javanese and Siamese. 

The people of Pase are for the most part Bengalees, and the 
natives descend from this stock; and because they are of this 
seed, there is a custom in the country which will be described 
later, for beyond doubt there is not in the world so vile a way as 
that of Pase in dealing with its king. 

City of The kingdom of Pase has the city which is called Pase, and 
Pase. some people call it (^amotora (Sumatra). Because there is noth- 
ing else so important in the whole island, the city has thus given 

' From the Arab kafir, ‘unfaithful or unbeliever’, meaning any person not 
Mohammedan. ‘A heathen or Cafre\ says Pires farther on (p. 159). ‘The 
Heathen whom the Moors name Cafres’, says Barbosa (i, 10), Even the English, 
at least once in 1799, have been called ‘Gaffers’! Cf. Hobson-Jobson, s.v. 

^ The name survives in the Pase river, in Lat. 5° 9' N. It appears for the 
first time on Rodrigues’ maps (fol. 34), as Pacfem, and then on almost every 
map down to the eighteenth century. Castanheda refers to ‘the town of Pace, 
twenty leagues from Pedir, which lies a league up a river, situated upon its 
marshy land’, ii, cxii. There are in fact 84 miles between Pedir and the 
modern Pase, which is 20 miles more than Castanheda’s 20 leagues. See above 
note on Pedir. 



its name to the whole island, being called by either of these 
names. This city has not less than twenty thousand inhabi- 

Thus the kingdom of Pase has large towns with many inhabi- 
tants towards the interior, where important people of good 
breeding live (?). These sometimes disagree with Pase because 
of the crops of pepper, silk and benzoin; but they affirm that in 
the quarrels their wishes prevail over Pase; and in these towns 
there live great nobles of the kingdom, who are called man- 
darins, and the men-at-arms. 

Pase used to have heathen kings, and it must be a hundred How they 
and sixty years now since the said kings were worn out by the 
cunning of the merchant Moors there were in the kingdom of 
Pase, and the said Moors held the sea coast and they made a had kings 
Moorish king of the Bengali caste, and from that time until now 
the kings of Pase have always been Moors; except that up till 
now they have been unable to convert the people of the 
interior; and yet in these kingdoms there are in the island of 
Sumatra, those on the sea coast are all Moors on the side of the 
Malacca Channel, and those who are not yet Moors are being 
made so every day, and no heathen among them is held in any 
esteem unless he is a merchant. 

As, when the Bengalees made their king, it was on condition 
that anyone who could kill the king should become king | what- Fol. 141V. 
ever his estate and condition as long as he was a Moor, the 
grandees of Pase have from that time agreed that whoever kills 
the king becomes king; and they say that on one day there were 
seven kings in Pase, because one killed the other and another 
the other; and they consider it glorious to die kings and they are 
not guarded, because they say that that is God’s command, so 
that the kings do not last long in their estate, and whenever one 
kills another, he buries the dead one with all royal solemnity, 
because that is the custom of the country; and there is no dis- 
turbance whatever in the city or among the people and mer- 
chants whether king be killed or live. 

And because the Bengalees started this rule, the land of 
Bengal desired to do the same thing, as it will be seen in the 
account of Bengal that for the last seventy years they have been 


dise of 

used in 

dise which 
is traded 
in Pase in 
junks and 

Fol. I 42 r. 


doing this in Bengal. And there is no country where this practice 
exists and lasts except in Bengal and Pase. 

Because on two occasions two kings in Pase had died, ambas- 
sadors from Pase came twice in three months to show vassalage 
and obedience to Malacca, asking for Portuguese support as the 
land and people and kings were slaves of the king our lord; and 
they keep on coming to ask this as other kings succeed. And the 
king who is now reigning is the son of the king of Pirada. 

The city of Pase lies about half a league up the river. And the 
river is like the one in Pedir, of that kind, a little wider but not 
much. Both rivers have stone pillars (padroes) of ours at their 

It has from eight to ten thousand bahars of pepper every year. 
The pepper from this island is not as good as that from Cochin: 
it is larger, hollower and lasts less; it has not the same perfection 
of flavour and it is not so aromatic. It produces silk and benzoin, 
and in Pase you will find all the merchandise there is in all the 
island, because it is collected there. 

There are small coins like ceitis. They are tin coins bearing the 
name of the reigning king. There are very small gold coins 
which they call dramas. Nine of these are worth one cruzado, and 
I believe that each one of them is worth five hundred cash. 
Above this they have gold-dust and silver. Their bahar of 
pepper is less than that of Malacca — five cates, that is twelve 
arrdteis less. 

The merchants who trade in Pase are Gujaratees, Kling, 
Bengalees, men of Pegu, Siamese, men of Kedah and Bruas, and 
these are already divided up, so many in | Pase and so many in 
Pedir and the remainder in Malacca. They do not trade with 
Pase from the east, only with the populous city of Malacca, for 
you could make ten cities like Pase out of the city of Malacca at 
the time of its punishment — when it received correction for the 
blunder it had made. 

As for this improvement which Pase received through what 
happened in Malacca, when Malacca is reformed — as it is 
becoming every day — Pase will return to its former state, and 
[so will] Pedir. With the help of God Almighty, the kings firstly 
of Pase and Pedir and also all those in this island will be tribu- 



taries and vassals to him who now owns Malacca, because other- 
wise in a year’s time there will be no Pase and Pedir, and those 
who realise it are making themselves vassals before they are 
required to do so. 

Pase has the right to one maz^ on every bahar of merchandise Duties 
that goes out, and it levies anchorage according to whether it is 
a ship or junk. They do not pay an)^hing on foodstuffs, only 
give a present; on the other merchandise that comes from the 
west six per cent, and on every slave they bring there to sell five 
mazes of gold; and all merchandise they take out, whether it be 
pepper or anything else, they pay one maz per bahar. Neither 
Pase nor Pedir has a single junk; they have lancharas — as many as 
two, three or four for cargo. They used to come and buy junks 
in Malacca. The merchants of Pase buy junks from other mer- 
chants who go there from other places to trade, because they are 
not made in Pase on account of the scarcity in the country of 
jaty wood^, which is strong for junks. 

The kingdom of Bata is bordered on the one side by the Kingdom 
kingdom of Pase and on the other by the kingdom of Am 
(Daruu). The king of this country is called Raja Tomjam*. He is 

* A gold weight used in Sumatra, equivalent to one sixteenth of a tael or 
ounce. Further on, when dealing with the Malacca coinage. Fires says also 
that the tael weighs sixteen mazes. But the value of the maz was variable in 
the Far-East. See note on maz p. 124. 

'‘■Jaty. Tectona grandis Linn., or teak, ‘the pride of Indian forests’. The 
words Kayu jati mean ‘the true, or real wood’. Burkill, op. cit., p. 2127. 

Though Corner {op. cit., i, 706) says that the teak tree was introduced into 
Malaya from Burma, Siam, E. Java, and the Philippines, it seems that in 
Fires’ time it had long been known in Malacca. 

3 The Batas, Battas or Bataks were the inhabitants of the hinterland of 
northern Sumatra. Barros refers to the Batas who dwell in the part of Suma- 
tra over against Malacca and ‘who eat human flesh, the wildest and the most 
warlike people in the whole world’ (iii, v, i). Galvao (p. 108) and Eredia 
(fol. 23V.), among others, also refer to the cannibalism of the Batas. The 
anonymous Portuguese atlas of c. 1615-23 has bata on the north-west, and 
Berthelot’s map of 1635 has R. dos batas on the north-east coast of Sumatra, 
in Lat. 3“’ N. 

^ Raja Tomjam, or Tamjano as written before, must mean ‘Raja of Tomjam’. 

Pinto refers to ‘Timorraja, king of the Batas’ (xiii). Castanheda says that the 
survivors of the Frol de la Mar went to the ‘town of Temiao in the island of 
Sumatra (iii, Ixxviii), and Barros informs us that the shipwreck was in front of 
‘a point called Timia in the kingdom of Aru’ (ii, vii, i). ‘The river Tomdo is 
in 4^ degrees’, correctly states the Livro de Marinharia, p. 243. This must 

H.C.S. I. 




a Moorish knight. He often goes to sea to pillage. He is the son- 
in-law of the king of Aru. He brought in (?) the ship Frol de la 
Mar^ which was wrecked in a storm off the coast of his country, 
and they say he recovered everything water could not spoil, 
wherefore they say he is very rich. From what they say this 
Tomjano is rather wealthy. This Tomjano is often at war in 
the hinterland. Sometimes he fights with his father-in-law, 
sometimes with Pase, and he helps whichever he sees to be 
the stronger, and he receives [something] from them all. They 
say that the kings of Bata (Batar) have always had this habit. 

He must have as many as thirty or forty well-equiped lan- 
charas, which get out into the channel by the rivers there are in 
his country, because no one lives on the coast except watchers to 
see who goes by. The said land of Bata produces rice and wine 
and fruit. It has pitch from which they make many lamps, and 
they go there for cargoes of them. It also produces a great deal of 
honey and wax and a little edible camphor. The chief merchan- 
dise is canes in large quantities which they call rotads^, and these 
are good merchandise because they serve for cable and threads 
in every way. 

The kingdom of Aru is a large kingdom, bigger than any of 

correspond to teinaoa on the map of c. 1540, and R. themiam on Berthelot’s 
map, in the north-east of Sumatra — the small river Tamian or Tamiang 
(there are also a point and a hill called Tamiang, Lat. 4° 25' N). Apparently the 
name occurs as Dahnyan in a Persian MS of 1310 and as Tumihan in a 
Javanese MS of 1365. Ferrand, Relations de voyages, pp. 261 and 652. A 
Chinese account of 1436 says: ‘Tamiang is connected with the territory of 
Aru. It is surrounded everywhere by mountains, and possesses a harbour 
leading to a large inland stream, surgy and boisterous for a thousand miles, 
which rushes into the sea.’ Schlegel, op. cit., p. 86. 

' After the conquest of Malacca, Albuquerque sailed back to India, with a 
small fleet of four ships, on i Dec. 1 5 1 1 on board the Frol de la Mar (Flower 
of the Sea). When the ships were sailing along the north-east coast of Pase 
they were caught in a fierce storm and the Frol de la Mar, an old ship, was 
wrecked on some shoals, with great loss of life and of all the treasures brought 
from Malacca. Albuquerque himself escaped with the utmost difficulty. The 
chronicles do not quite agree about the place where the Frol de la Mar was 
wrecked, but Albuquerque himself says in his letter of 20 Aug. 1512, written 
from Cochin to the King of Portugal, that Frol de la Mar was wrecked near 
Pase’. Cartas, i, 67. 

^ Rattan, the Malay word rotan, a cane. These canes are made from certain 
kinds of palms, mainly of the genus Cr.lamus Linn. 


those mentioned up to now in Sumatra, and it is not rich Fol. 142V. 
through merchandise and trade, for it has none. This [king] has 
many people, many lancharas. He is the greatest king in all 
Sumatra, and the most powerful in plundering raids. He is a (Daru)*. 
Moor and lives in the hinterland, and has many rivers in his 
country. The land in itself is marshy and cannot be penetrated. 

This [king] is always in residence in his kingdom. His man- 
darins and his people go robbing at sea, and they share with him 
because some part of the armada is paid by them. Since Malacca 
began, he has always been at war with Malacca and has taken 
many of its people. He pounces on a village and takes every- 
thing, even the fishermen; and the Malays always keep a great 
watch for the Arus, because this quarrel is already of long stand- 
ing and it has always remained, whence comes the saying ‘Am 
against Malacca, Achin against Pedir, Pedir against Kedah and 
Siam, Pahang against Siam on the other side, Palembang against 
Linga, Celates against Bugis {Bajusy, etc.’, and all these nations 
fight one against the other and they are very rarely friends. 

The people of Am are presumptuous and warlike, and no one 

’ Daru is the contraction of the genitive de and Aru. Fires also used the 
form Daru in his letter written from Cochin 27 Jan. 1516, where he refers to 
the Regno de daru; but it is erroneous to write ‘de daru’. The kingdom or 
state of Aru, like most of those mentioned by Fires, has long ago disappeared 
from the maps. But the name survives in Aru Bay, on the north-east coast of 
Sumatra, and in Aroa Islands, a group of islets lying nearly in mid-channel 
between the Sumatran coast and Cape Rachado. Kernel’s maps of c. 1517 and 
c. 1518 are the first to show aRu and tfra daRu, immediately north and south 
of the equator; L. Homem’s map of 1554 and D. Homem’s atlas of 1558 have 
R. daru and trra daru situated in the region of the modern Rokan River. The 
Aru river corresponds to the modern Deli River, on which stands the city of 

2 ‘Cellates est un n^ologisme portugais form6 avec le mot malais seldt 
“d^troit”. II a le sens de “gens du d6troit, population maritime vivant dans le 
d^troit’,’’ says Ferrand. Malaka, xi, 434. However Fires is quite explicit 
when he says a little further on that ‘Celates is the Malay for sea-robbers’. 
Crawfurd is milder, calling the Celates ‘the sea-gipsies’. Dictionary, p. 50. 

Bajus or Bugis was the name given by the Malays to the dominant race of 
the Celebes. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Bugis established 
themselves in the Malay Feninsula and other places of the Malay Archipel- 
ago. Crawfurd remarked that ‘the Bugis, now the most enterprising of all the 
native tribes of the Archipelago, are never mentioned by the earlier European 
writers’, such as Barbosa and Barros; and that they ‘are among the most 
advanced people of the Archipelago’. Dictionary, s.v. 





Fair in 




Fol. i43r. 

148 tomi6 fires 

trusts them. If they do not steal they do not live, and therefore 
no one is friendly with them. They must have a hundred pardos 
and more whenever they want them, not very big things, more 
adapted for speed than for taking cargo. 

The land of Am has plenty of rice, and very white and good 
and in large quantities; it has plenty of meat, fish and wines such 
as they use, and fruit in great abundance. 

It has edible camphor in good quantities; it has gold; it has a 
great deal of benzoin, and good; it has apothecary’s lignaloes; 
it has rattans, pitch, wax, honey, slaves (men and women); it has 
a few merchants. Some of this merchandise is sold by way of 
Pase and Pedir and some by way of Panchur, because some of 
the land of Am is in the land of Menangkabau, and there they 
have great rivers inland along which the whole island of Sumatra 
can be navigated, and from these places they get the cloth for 
their clothes and other things. 

Am has a town in the land of Arqat, where a slave market (of 
men and women) is held in certain months, and [it is] open to 
all. Anyone who likes can go there in safety; and many people 
go there to buy slaves, and some people send there to buy their 
sons, and daughters their mothers, and husbands their wives; 
and they also deal in other merchandise there; and that is the 
way it happens with the Celates, as will be told when we speak of 
the Celates robbers in their proper place. 

The kingdom of Arcat is bounded on one side by Am and on 
the other by Rokan {Yrcan). The king is a Moor. He has a small 
country. He has smsXl pardos. He does not do much trade. He is 
a vassal of the king of Am. The people of this kingdom on the 
sea coast are Celates robbers and those inland live on their 

This country has gold; it has rice, wines, and fish; and they 
load dried salt fish here. Only very small pardos can come into 
this country along inlets. The king is related to the king of 

' The most important anchorage between the rivers Deli and Rokan is in a 
bay where three rivers — Kualu, Bila and Panai — debouch. This bay is 
limited on the west by a point called Pertandangan or Perapat. Is it perhaps 
reminiscent of Pires’ Arcat? 



The land of Rokan is between Arcat and the kingdom oi Land of 
Rupat. This country has no king; it has a mandarin. He is a Rokan 
vassal of the late king of Malacca. He helped him during the war 
with rowers and men-at-arms, who had to serve gratis, just for 
their food. Many of these people are Celates, which is the Malay 
for sea robbers. 

The land of Rokan^ has gold and rice. This [land] has the shad 
fisheries, whence they take them to Malacca in large quantities. 

And there is also in this country a market of slaves whom they 
and other robbers steal, and they come to sell them here and 
also in Purim. 

The kingdom of Rupat is bounded on one side by Rokan and Kingdom 
on the other hy Purim. It is a small kingdom. Most of the people 
are robbers in small pardos. This kingdom has the same obliga- 
tions to Malacca as the land of Rokan. It helps with people in 
war. It also has a little rice, wines, fruit, and they fish for shad in 
great quantities and for other fish. 

The land of Purim is bounded on one side by Rupat and on Land of 
the other by Siak. This country has a mandarin, a powerful per- 
son. He is a vassal of the king of Malacca, in the same way as was 
said of Rokan and Rupat, and he helps with rowing men in great 
numbers. And most of the people in this place are Celates, rob- 
bers, and they are brought up on the sea and are great rowers. 

This Purim has a larger market for stolen slaves than there is 
in the two places of which we have spoken — leaving out Arcat. 

This Purim also has many shad and other fish in large quantities. 

It has some gold, rice, wines, meat and other foodstuffs. This 
mandarin of Purim is an important person and a great warrior. 

The kingdom of Siak is bounded on one side by Purim and on Kingdom 

of Siak 

* Jrcan corresponds to the Rokan River. The first maps on which I find (Ciac)^. 
this river are Eredia’s (1613) and Berthelot’s (1635), where it is given as 

^ Though the MS has Purim, it is obviously a mistake iotjrcan. 

3 Pulo Rupat, a large island just opposite Malacca. 

The next island south-east of Rupat is Pulo Bengkalis (the Bamcallis of 
Dourado’s atlas of 1580 and other later maps). The north-east point of this 
small island is called Parit, perhaps reminiscent of Pires’ Purim, which 
farther on is also spelt Porim. 

® Ciac corresponds to the Siak River. The map of c. 1540 has Cjace; 
similarly on later maps. 

Fol. 143V. 

of Kam- 
par{ Cam- 


the Other by Kampar {Campar). The king of this place is a Moor. 
This country has trade and some merchants. Siak is a country 
that has rice, honey, wax, rattans, apothecary’s lignaloes. It has 
more gold than the three places we have mentioned; it has wines 
and other foodstuffs. 

This king is respected in the country. He is related to the 
king of Malacca and to the king of Kampar. He is a tributary to 
him, and the king of Kampar is a tributary to Malacca for him- 
self and for the other, and is defended. His country contains 
large rivers which come from far inland. This king has many 
pardos, and they are made in his country, because of the amount 
of wood there is there. 

The kingdom of Kampar is bounded on one side by Siak and on 
the other by Campom. In front of this country are the Islands of 
Karimun {Carjmom) and of (^elaguy guy and of Kundur 
which form the beginning of the channel to Java and other 

' Campar corresponds to the Kampar River. Reinel’s maps of c. 1517 and 
c. 1518 have campar\ similarly on later maps. 

^ Carjmom — Karimun islands. There are two, Great Karimun and Little 
Karimun, separated by a deep channel half a mile wide. 

(Jelaguy guy — The Sugi islands, east of Kundur island ? Between Kari- 
mun and Kundur lies the small Temblas island, the Ambelas of early Port- 
uguese rutters (Lat. 1° N), and several others, but none suggests Qelaguy guy 
or (^elaguym gum. Pires, however, identifies these islands with the Celates 
(p. 136). 

Sabam — Kundur island. Following on a modern chart the sailing direc- 
tions in Livro de Marinharia, pp. 244-67, we find that the island of Sabam 
is unmistakably Kundur island. There is still a small place called Sawang on 
the west coast of Kundur, facing the channel. Reinel’s maps of c. 1517 and 
c. 1518 have saba south of the equator, at the northern entrance of a channel 
between Sumatra and a large archipelago (the present Rhio Archipelago) 
south of sangapura. The maps of L. Homem (1554), D. Homem (1558), 
Dourado and others, have ‘way out of the canal de sabam' written on the 
coast of Sumatra, also south of the equator. However, the Canal de Sabam, 
between the Sumatran coast and the islands of Karimun and Kundur, lies 
well northward of the equator. But one of Eredia’s maps (fol. 45) has the 
islands cariman, ambilas and SABAM forming with Sumatra the ESTRE- 
ITO: SABAM (marked with dotted lines), situated north of the equator only 
some minutes short of the correct latitude. In spite of modern opinions to 
the contrary, there is no doubt that this was the route of the Portuguese ships 
sailing from Malacca to the south-east coast of Sumatra and beyond. 
Actually the soundings in the shallowest part of the channel, between the 
south-west of Kundur and Mendol, are four and three quarter fathoms; 
farther south-east, between the Sumatran coast and Pulo Wahu (N.W. of 
Pulo Durei), the shallowest part is only three and one quarter fathoms. 


places. The channel between the islands and the land of Kampar 
is called Kampar because it begins there. 

These kings of Kampar are related to the ex-king of Malacca, 
and the present one is married to one of his daughters; he is 
called Rajah Audela. His kingdom has no villages on the sea. It 
goes in by a river of five, six, or seven fathoms, and there is a 
great bore (macareo) in this river: the waters of many rivers meet 
in the estuary, and in a short time rises to a great height, and as 
it rises it produces waves, so that it overthrows and breaks up 
anything it finds; and if those who enter in are not warned to 
watch their moment for entering, they are often lost^ 

This land of Kampar is sterile and of little profit. Run up the 
river seven or eight days and there are the villages — not many of 
them. The river flows violently and is difficult to navigate on 
account of the currents. Almost at the end, by the last village 
belonging to the said king, the rivers divide — that of Kampar, 
that of Menangkabau and that of Siak; and at the entrance to the 
mouth of another river in Kampar another large river^ is found 
which makes Siak, Purim, Rupat and Rokan into islands, and 
comes out opposite Malacca. Pate Unus came along this with the 
tide, because the winds in the channel were already contrary for 
getting to Malacca. However he turned the poop into the fresh- 
ening wind and fled in the junks. This deed shall long be 

’ The Malacca Strait Pilot says that ‘owing to the bore which takes place 
and the rapid tidal stream, local knowledge is necessary’ in the Kampar River. 

^ There is no other river between the Siak and the Kampar. It is possible 
that by this ‘other large river’ Pires meant the narrow and long channel be- 
tween the islands Bengakalis, Padang, and Tebing Tinggi on one hand, and 
the mainland of Sumatra on the other, which might look like a large river. 
He thought that the large island very close to the coast of Sumatra, in front 
of Malacca, with narrow channels and the rivers Rokan, Siak and Kampar, 
formed the enormous delta of a single river. This misconception was common 
to many cartographers and geographers, as is seen in early maps and descrip- 
tions of Africa, Asia and America, w'hen their hinterlands were almost or 
entirely unknown; 

3 In January 1513 Paty Onuz, Patih Yunus or Pate Unus tried to sur- 
prise Malacca, bringing a 100 ships with 5,000 men, Javanese from Japara 
and Palembang; 'defeated, Patih Unus sailed home and beached his warship 
as a monument of a fight against men he called the bravest in the world, his 
exploit winning him a few years later the throne of Demak.’ Winstedt, A 
History of Malay, 70-1 (following Castanheda, iii, cii). When Alvim in 1513 





Land of 


This kingdom has a great deal of apothecary’s lignaloes. It 
is called garuu in Malay and agujlla in India. It has gold, pitch, 
wax, honey. It is bounded inland by the [land of] the kings of 
Menangkabau, and trades with them. 

It has rices, meats, tampdes wines — all these in moderation, to 
feed their land. They take their merchandise to Malacca and bring 
back Kling and Gujarat cloth, which is valued throughout the 
island, and red cotton cloth is valued the most in Menangkabau. 

The land of Campocan is between Kampar and Indragiri. 
This country used to have a king. For the last ten years it has had 

visited Japara, Pate Unus sent him presents, asking the Portuguese not to burn 
the famous junk, and no harm was done. In a letter to Afonso de Albuquer- 
que, from Cannanore, 22 Feb. 1513, Fernao Peres de Andrade, the Captain of 
the fleet that routed Pate Unus, says: ‘The junk of Pate Umuz is the largest 
seen by men of these parts so far. It carried a thousand fighting men on 
board, and your Lordship can believe me . . . that it was an amazing thing to 
see, because the Anunciada near it did not look like a ship at all. We attacked 
it with bombards, but even the shots of the largest did not pierce it below 
the water-line, and [the shots of] the esfera [an old large kind of cannon] I 
had in my ship went in but did not pass through; it had three sheathings, all 
of which were over a cruzado thick. And it certainly was so monstrous that 
no man had ever seen the like. It took three years to build, as your Lordship 
may have heard tell in Malacca concerning this Pate Umuz, who made this 
armada to become king of Malacca.’ Cartas, iii, 59. Barros, ii, ix, 4. Correia 
says that Pate Unus appeared before Malacca ‘on a morning of January 1512 
(ii, 277), and Castanheda describes the event as having taken place in 1512 
(Joe. cit.); but they are obviously mistaken, unless here the year was excep- 
tionally reckoned as beginning at Easter, which does not seem to be the case. 
Malacca was taken in the middle of August 1511, and Albuquerque sailed 
back to India in December; between the departure of Albuquerque and the 
coming of Pate Unus many other well-known events took place (described by 
Barros, ii, ix, i and 2, Castanheda, iii, Ixxxi-lxxxvi, and Correia himself). 
Moreover, Andrade says in his letter that they had the first news of the com- 
ing of Pate Unus on Christmas Day 1512, and Barros rightly says that the 
enemy fleet appeared before Malacca ‘at the beginning of January 1513’. 
Further on, when describing the ‘Land of Demak’, Pires says that Pate Unus 
‘came to fight (against Malacca) in the year 1512’; though not expressly 
stated, this refers to his departure from Java, of course. When describing Japara 
(p. 188) and the early establishment of the Portuguese in Malacca (p. 282), 
Pires refers to this case with more detail. Dames thinks that Pateudra or Pate 
Udora mentioned by Barbosa is identical with Pate Unuz (ii, 190-1); but 
later on Pires’ account shows clearly that Pate Unus and Pateudra, or Pate 
Andura, were different persons. 

' Between the rivers Kampar and Indragiri there is the small river Kate- 
man, the upper part of which is called Simpang-kana; this may correspond 
to Pires’ Campoquan, Campom or Campocan. 



a mandarin. It is a small country and this mandarin is a vassal of 
Malacca. This country has a few merchants. They take gold to 
Malacca, and bring back Kling or Gujarat cloth. 

This country of Campocan has gold; it has apothecary’s lign- 
aloes; it has wax, honey, pitch, rattans, and things that Kampar 
has. It is a small country and good. In front of it are | the islands Fol. i44r. 
of Buaya^ which form the channel, because all along the coast of 
Sumatra the different places follow each other and so do the 
islands (?). It has plenty of foodstuffs for its needs: rices, meats, 
fish, wines, fruit, and many mats, dried fish in quantities. 

The kingdom of Indragiri is bounded on one side by the land Kingdom 
of Campocan and on the other by the land of Tongkal {Tunqall). oflndra- 
Indragiri is an important kingdom. It has a fair number of trad- ^^ndar- 
ing people, and people go there from many places to trade. It is guery). 
the chief port of Menangkabau. 

The kings of Indragiri are related to the kings of Malacca and 
of Kampar and of Pahang. The country is not very large, but the 
people are accustomed to trade. The merchants who go there are 
not badly treated. They come to Malacca from Indragiri, be- 
cause Indragiri comes under Malacca like Kampar. 

Indragiri does business and trade with a certain part of the 
land of Menangkabau in the interior, where they collect great 
deal of gold by hand with which they buy many cloths, and in 
this way they do their trade. It produces the same merchandise 
as Kampar, but in greater abundance, and also foodstuffs and 
meat. Opposite Indragiri are the Linga islands. 

The land of Tongkal is joined on one side to Indragiri and on Land of 
the other to the land of Jambi (Jamby). This country has no king Tongkal 
nor mandarin. It is a country which is obedient to Malacca as a 
tributary. It is a small country. It also borders on Menagkabau. 

It has the same merchandise as Indragiri, but not in such 
quantities. It has enough foodstuffs for itself and for others. 
Opposite are the islands of Calantiga? 

' Pulo Buaya lies north-west of Linga, in the middle of several islets 
(Lat. 0° 10' N). 

^ Tuncall — There is a river Tongkal between Indragiri and Jambi. Berthe- 
lot’s map of 163s has Toncal. 

3 Twelve miles westward of Pulo Singkep there is a group of three small 
islands, each with some islets around it, the central one of which is Pulo 



Land of 



Fol. 144V. 

Land of 





The land of Jambi is attached at one end to the land of Tong- 
kal and at the other side to the land of Palembang (Palimbdo), 
inland to Menangkabau, and opposite are the islands of Pulo 
Berhala {Berellay. This country used to have a king. It is like 
Indragiri, and after the Javanese Moors began to grow powerful 
and took Palembang, they took Jambi, and they were called 
kings no longer, but they are called pates^, which means man- 
darins in Malacca, and in our languge really [means] governors 
with capital powers, both civil and criminal over every person in 
their lands. They have full jurisdiction, only they have lost the 
name of kings, and have become pates, as will be told in speaking 
of the great Java. The said land of Jambi produces apothecary’s 
lignaloes, and gold, and the merchandise of Tongkal and the 
other places. And there are already more foodstuffs here. It is 
under Pate Rodim, lord of Demak (Demaa). The people of the 
land of Jambi are already more like Palembangs and Javanese 
than Malays. The land is fertile and rich in its way. 

All the kingdoms we have mentioned from Arcat up to here 
have a great many lancharas. They all trade in Malacca, all the 
year round, and it is all Menangkabau land and they are all 

The large country of Palembang is bordered on one side by 
Jambi and on the other by the point and end of the island of 

Alang Tiga. These are Pires’ fthas de Calamtigua, which he referred to 
before as Tigua. They appear clearly marked on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 30) 
as cardtiga. 

’ The Jambi territories, through which flows ‘the largest and most beauti- 
ful’ river of Sumatra, the Jambi River, form today a province with the city of 
Jambi as capital. L. Homem’s map of 1554 is the first to show it asjamvim. 

^ This Pullo Berella seems to correspond to Pulo Singkep, the southern- 
most island of the Linga group. The name survives in the Berhala Strait, 
between Singkep and Sumatra. There is, however, a Pulo Berhala in the 
north part of the Malacca Strait, which was called Ilha da Polvoreira by the 
Portuguese. ‘An island, which our men call Poluoreyra and the natives 
Barala\ says Barros, II, vi, i and 2. A polluoreira appears for the first time on 
Rodrigues’ map (fol. 29). 

3 This is the first explanation of the word pate or patih, at least by an 
European writer. Many later sixteenth-century writers define this term, but 
no one so completely as Pires. The title is still in use for some native Java 


The territories of Palembang form today a province of southern Sumatra 
through which flows the Palembang or Musi River. It has the city of Palem- 



Sumatra which is called Tana Malay o and from the interior and 
the sea along the way to Pansur or Panchur, it is bordered by 
Sekampung (Caupd), Tulang Bawang (Tulumbavam), Andalas 
{Andallds), and in the interior by the land of Priaman {Pyra- 
mam) which is in the land of Menangkabau. Palembang has the 
islands of Monomby^ and the islands of Banka {Banco) in front of 
it in the channel. Palembang belongs to Pate Rodim, lord of 
Demak. Most of the people of Palembang are heathens of low 
class, and [there are] also many heathen 

The land of Palembang used to have heathen kings of its own 
and it was subject to the cafre king of Java, and after the Moor- 
ish pates of Java had made themselves masters of the sea coasts, 
they made war on Palembang for a long time and took the land, 
and it had no more kings, only pates, and Palembang has ten or 
twelve chief pates. Palembang has about ten thousand [men ?] 
many of whom lost their lives in the Malacca war against us. 

The land of Palembang is the best thing Pate Rodim has, 
better than his own country, and it has now been destroyed by 
us, [and so have] all his junks and champanas^, and all the lords 
of Palembang were killed in the defeat of Pate Unus. Even 
though the Palembang people came to fight at Malacca very un- 
willingly, all those who came died. And because this fact does 
not belong to this place I will return to the description and 
account of Palembang. 

Palembang trades in Malacca and it trades largely with 
Pahang. Palembang has many junks and cargo pangajavas. Ten 

bang as capital and seat of the Government Resident. Rodrigues’ map (fol.30) 
is the first to record Palembang as as tres bocas de pallamham, placing them 
accurately. The Palembang River has really three mouths — the main entrance 
is Sungi Sunsang (Musi), navigable as far as Palembang for vessels that can 
cross the bar, a distance of fifty-four miles; the two eastern mouths, Sungi 
Saleh and Sungi Upang, are not navigable. The Comentdrios de Afonso de 
Albuquerque (ill, xvii) and Barros (ii, ix, 4, etc.) mention another Polimbao 
or Polimbatn in Java, (see G. Ferrand, Malaka, i, 412-4); several Portuguese 
cartographers, like the anonymous author of the c. 1540 map, L. Homem, 
D. Homem, Luis, Dourado and Lavanha, insert also a Polimbatn in the 
north-east of Java. Pires knew better. 

* Near the west end of Banka island rises the Menumbing or Monopin hill 
(455 metres); this conspicuous elevation appears for the first time on Rodri- 
gues’ map (fol. 30) as mondpim. 

2 Champana, from the Malay sampan, is a small East Indian craft. 


or twelve junks would come to Malacca every year [laden with] 
white rice and many good vegetables, and this rice is the chief 
merchandise. They also have many slaves for merchandise; they 
have plenty of cotton; they have rattans in large quantities; they 
have some gold, a great deal of rice in the husk; they have pitch, 
iron; they have a great deal of wax, honey, many wines, meats; 
they even bring an infinite quantity of garlic and onions, which 
are good merchandise; they have a great deal of black benzoin in 
large quantities, which is used in Bonuaquelim and in Macassar 
{Marcagar), Tanjompura and in the other islands. 

In Palembang they use a large amount of clothing of the 
coarse [kind] from the Gujaratees and from the Kling. They spend 
all the money they get for the merchandise in Malacca, as well 
as what they bring in gold, as all those who come to Malacca do; 
they load up with merchandise taking a large quantity of Kling 

Islands In front of Siak the islands of Pulo Pisang {Piga)\ in front of 
which Kampar the islands of Karimun (Carimam) and the Selat 

foTitt the ^ ^ ^ 

channel, {(^elates) and Kundur (Sabam). These produce a few foodstuffs 
and are inhabited. Opposite Capitam^ the islands of Buaya; 
opposite Indragiri the islands of Linga {Lingua). 

As I have already said of the islands of Linga in [the account 
of] the lands under the jurisdiction of the kingdom of Malacca, 
they are thickly populated; they have a king; they are perfect 
knights; they have up to forty lancharas; they have many 
lancarias^\ Linga has apothecary’s lignaloes ; it has a great deal 
Fol. J45r. of rice and foodstuffs; the land is good, [ it defends itself against 
enemies. This [king] is like a king of the Celates. He is feared 
and powerful — more than Kampar; the land is similar; his 
country has some trade. These islands must have four or five 

* It is possible that the river Kateman, which in fact debouches in front of 
Pulo Buaya, corresponds to Capitanv, or perhaps this is simply another 
spelling of Campocan. 

^ Lancarias or lanparias, from lanpa, may mean lancers. However, there is a 
fruit-tree in the East Indies called lanceira {Lansium domesticuni). Further, 
Orta (xxiv) refers to the lancuaz that is found in Java. This is the Alpinia 
gaianga Willd., the Greater or Java-galangal. But this could hardly be Pires’ 
lancarias, as in his later letter of 27 Jan. 1516 he refers to the gaianga and its 
countries of origin, without mentioning either the name lancuaz or any of the 
East Indies regions. 



thousand men, and from the point of them opposite the islands 
of Buaya lies the channel to Pahang and Bintang {Bynta) and to 
Siam and all these other parts. 

And in front of Tongkal are the three islands which are called 
Calantiga. These are desert and have no inhabitants; they have 
good water. 

And in front [of Jambi] the islands of Berhala are also un- 
inhabited. Some Celates sometimes take shelter there; they have 
plenty of water. 

And in front of the first land of Palembang [are] the islands of 
Monomby. These islands are as thickly populated as Linga, and 
they are to some extent subject to Pate Unus, but not entirely. 
They have mandarins; they have a great many lancharas; they 
have apothecary’s lignaloes; they have wax and honey; they 
have many foodstuffs in plenty. Monomby and Banka are all one 
land which belong to Pate Unus of Japara {Japera). Beyond 
Monomby in front of the latter part of Palembang are the islands 
of Banka. These have a pate; they belong to Pate Unus, a 
Javanese Moor. These islands have about a thousand inhabi- 
tants; they used to have seven or eight thousand. They have 
apothecary’s lignaloes; they have wax, honey, iron, cotton; they 
have many foodstuffs. 

In front of Tana Malaio is the island which is called Lucipara 
{Lufeparijy. This is at the end of the channel. To the east- 
north-east of this island it is all islands and shoals, and to the 
east is the channel to the Moluccas [Maluqo), and from the 
south-west to the east-south-east is Java, and from the south- 
west to the east is the kingdom of Sunda; and from Lucipara 
to the first land of Java, which will lie to the east-south-east or to 
the south-east, will be a hundred and twenty leagues to the first 
land to be reached in Java and the island of Mandelika {Manda- 
lica), which is over against the land of Japara [Jarapard), three 
or four leagues from the port of Pate Unus. If I am not very 
accurate in this chapter I refer to the [proper] chapters, so as not 
to digress. Our ships can go from Lucipara to the land of Japara 
in three days and nights with a monsoon wind. 

^ Lufeparij — Lucipara. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 30) has nufapare (Mas Pari 
in Malay). 



Land of 





Fol. 145V. 

Land of 






At the end of the land of Palembang is the land which is called 
Tana Malaio. It has the islands of Lucipara in front of it, and 
there are two channels formed with this island: one on the 
Palembang side, and another better one against the islands of 
Banka. And this land borders on the land of Sekampung. This 
land has a pate\ it has a great deal of cotton; it has rattans, pitch; 
it has many foodstuffs in plenty; it has some gold. They say that 
Paramifura, the founder of Malacca, came from this land, as 
has already been said. 

Now we begin to round the island almost in a westerly direc- 
tion. Sekampung is a large country. It has on one side the land 
which is called Tana Malaio and on the other Tulang Bawang. 
This country is plenteous; it has a pate\ he trades in Sunda 
and in Java; and this country’s trade with Sunda is large. 
They say that it is in sight of Sunda. This country has a great 
abundance of cotton; it has a little gold; it has plenty of honey, 
wax, pitch, rattans; it has some pepper, and good they say; 
it has plenty of rice, meat, fish, wines, fruit. According to 
what they say, this pate is a Cafre, and his people are. | In 
the hinterland they are Cafres, as it is certain that they are 
almost all heathen in the hinterland of Sumatra, and they are 
not subject to anyone. They cross to Java in three days in 
lancharas, and they say that they go to the land of Sunda in 
one day. 

The land of Tulang Bawang borders on Sekampung on 

' Tana malaio or Tana Malayu means the Malay country. Ferrand seems 
to decide on Tidentitd de I’ancien Malayu et du Minankabaw actuel. Plus 
vraisemblablement encore, le Minankabaw dtait I’Etat souverain de I’ancien 
royaume de Malayu dont faisait ^galement partie Palemban. . .’ Malaka, le 
Malayu et Malayur, ii, 79. According to Pires’ account, Tana-Malayu corre- 
sponds to the south-eastern part of the present Palembang Residency 

^ flacampom corresponds to Sungi Sekampung (Lat. 5° 35' S.) ‘the largest 
stream of the south-east coast of Sumatra’ southward of Tanjong Sekopong 
(Lat. 4° 56' S.), 'a rounded prominent point’. China Sea Pilot, ii. Lavanha’s 
map of Java in his first edition (1615) of Barros’ Decada Quarta da Asia, 
shows the south-east corner of Sumatra, where (fiacampa is situated south of 
Palimbd. Actually the coast runs due south, not almost ‘in a westerly direc- 
tion’ as Pires asserts. 

3 Tulimbavam corresponds to the Tulang Bawang (Lat. 4° 24' S.), about 
the largest river on this coast northward of Sekopong. Thus it is necessary to 
alter the relative situation of the names, because Pires placed Tulimbavam 
south of Qacampom. This is confirmed when he says that (fiacampom ‘is in 



one side and on the other on Andalas; in the hinterland it is 
bounded by Cafre kings. They say that this one is also a heathen 
or Cafre. This country has pepper; it has gold and the 
things that Sekampung has; it has lancharas, it has many 
foodstuffs; it has large rivers in its lands, where its villages are. 
In these places it is a strong country, because there is only one 
fathom of water at the entrance of the rivers. They trade in 
Java and in Sunda, and they do not trade with them in their 
own country; they take their merchandise there. They have a 
large quantity of cotton and from here they cross to Java in 
two days. 

The kingdom of Andalas is bounded on one side by the land Land of 
of Tulang Bawang and on the other by the rich kingdom of 
Priaman, and in the hinterland by the kings of Menangkabau. In 
front of it, a day and a night’s journey away, it has the land of (Am- 
Sunda, and between Andalas and Sunda is the sea; and the Pallor)'. 
Gujaratees used to come over this to Java and to Grisee (Agracy) 
to take in cargoes of cloves, nutmeg, mace, and white sandal- 
wood, cubeb, etc., because they said that it was all shallows and 
banks between this Andalas and Sunda and that it was not 

navigable — that is what they told us — which is not so, because 
it is deep and easily navigable and it always used to be navigated 
by the Gujaratees before Malacca collected their merchandise 
where they all gathered together; and then the Gujaratees ceased 
making this voyage, although navigation with the monsoon was 
good, because they came in by Sunda and ran along the coast of 
Chi Manuk (Chemano) and Pemano, Cherimon {Chorobam), all 
along the land of Demak (Demaa) and Japara, and they turned 

sight of Sunda’, and that from (^acampom they cross to Sunda in one day, and 
from Tulang Bawang to Java they cross in two days. 

* Andallor must be a transcriber’s mistake for andallos, or andalaz, as rightly 
written before. According to Pires’ account, the coast of Andalaz was the 
northern shore of the Sunda Strait. Andelis or Tanah Andalas (Land of 
Andalas) was the name given by several early writers to the south-east part of 
Sumatra, where there are still two places called Andalas, or even to the whole 
island. Ferrand, Malaka, 1, 455, 456, 483. In the centre of Menangkabau, 
West Coast Residency, there is a village Andalas (Lat. 0° 55' S., Long. 100° 
54' E.). On L. Homem’s map of 1554, in the southernmost part of Sumatra, 
there is written andrelas, which undoubtedly is a mistake for andalas or Pires’ 
Andalaz) D. Homem’s atlas of 1558 also has andrelas and Vaz Dourado’s 
atlases have amdrelhas, but farther north. 






Land of 
the king- 
dom of 

(Tiguo) 3 . 


towards Tubani and from there to Grisee, all of which they 
did with one wind. 

From the kingdom of Andalas I follow round the land, veer- 
ing to the north-west until I reach the islands of the Gamispola 
group, and where it begins to turn, the land shows us the king- 
dom of Priaman. Priaman is bounded on one side by Andalas 
and on the other by Tico, and in the hinterland by Menang- 
kabau. This is a heathen kingdom and the king is a heathen. 
Three kingdoms join together here on this coast, to wit, Pria- 
man, Tico and Panfur or Panchur or Baros. All these are rich, 
and the Gujaratees come here every year with one ship, or two or 
three, with merchandise. They dispose of it and take away their 
return [loads] as will be told when we finish speaking of these 
three kingdoms. The kingdom of Priaman has many horses, 
which they go and sell continuously in the kingdom of Sunda. 

This land of Priaman has plenty of gold, apothecary’s lign- 
aloes, camphor of two kinds, benzoin, silk, wax, honey; it has 
foodstuffs in plenty for its own land; it does a great trade with 
the land of Sunda. 

The kingdom of Tico (Tiquo) joins on to Priaman on one side 
and on the other it joins on to the land and kingdom of Panchur; 

^ Chemano — The Chi Manuk River that debouches on the north coast of 
Java. Barros (iv, i, xii), says that this river Chiamo or Chenano divided Java 
into two parts, like a channel, from north to south, and it was represented 
accordingly on Lavanha’s map of Java. 

Pemano — Perhaps Pasuruan, on the north coast of Java, Madura Strait, 
which Lavanha’s map represents as Panian. 

Chorabam — Cherimon, a place on the north coast of Java, which appears 
for the first time on the map of c. 1 540 as cherbom. 

Dema and Japara — Places on the mid north coast of Java. The map of 
c. 1540 has the two names for the first time, but dema, or modern Demak, is 
wrongly situated east of Japara. Japara is found for the first time on Rodri- 
gues’ map (fol. 30) — gepara lugar de pate Nuz — as well as in one of the 
Rodrigues’ drawings of Java (fol. 108) — Japara porto de pate Nauz. 

Tubam — Tuban, a port eastward of Japara. Tubam on Rodrigues’ maps 
(fol. 30) and drawings (fol. 103). 

2 Priaman river, harbour and town are situated about the middle of the 
west coast of Sumatra. Prim on L. Homem’s map of 1554 and Priam ao on 
Berthelot’s map of 1635. 

5 The roadstead and town of Tico or Tiku are situated on the west coast of 
Sumatra (Lat. 0° 25' N.), where the river of the same name debouches. L. 
Homem’s map of 1554 has ticos’, Tico on Eredia’s map, and in the atlas of 
c. 1615-23. 



in the hinterland it joins on to the land of Menangkabau. They 
say that the king is a heathen, and others say that he is a Moor. 

This [kingdom] has the merchandise we mentioned for Pria- 
man, which Pansur also (?) has. This kingdom has many people 
and does a great trade with the Gujaratees. 

It now falls to us to speak of the very rich kingdom of Baros, ^4^^ 
which is also called Panchur or Pansur. The Gujarat people call , 

r r Kingdom 

it Panchur^ and so do the Persians, Arabians, Kling, Bengalees, of Baros 
etc. Sumatra calls it Baros (Baruus). It is all one kingdom, not (Barus)'. 
two. It is bounded by Tico on one side and on the other by the 
land of the kingdom of Singkel; in the interior it has its dealings 
with the Menangkabaus, and in front of it, in the sea, it has the 
island of Nias {Minhac Barras), about which we will speak. 

This kingdom is at the head of the trade in these things in all 
the island of Sumatra, because this is the port of call through 
which the gold goes, and the silk, benzoin, camphor in quanti- 
ties, apothecary’s lignaloes, wax, honey, and other things in 
which this kingdom is more plentiful than any of the others 
described up to now. Benzoin from Baros, Tico and Priaman is 
plenteous in the island of Sumatra and very white. 

These three kingdoms we have described, to wit, Panchur, 

Tico, and Priaman, are the key to the land of Menangkabau, 
both because they are all related, and because they possess the 
sea coast, so that the Gujaratees come there every year and do a 
great trade; and all the merchandise is gathered together in 
these kingdoms and they do their trade with the said Gujaratees. 

One, two or three ships come every year; they sell all their 
clothing, and take in a great deal of gold and silk, much benzoin, 
much lignaloes, camphor of two kinds — a great deal of the 
edible kind — much wax, much honey. The Gujaratees dispose of 
all this merchandise because it is made up of goods consumed 

* The once famous port of Barus or Baros, on the north-west coast of 
Sumatra, is today an unimportant place, though healthy and the permanent 
residence of a government representative. L. Homem’s map of IS 54 
bairos and D. Homem’s atlas of 1558 has baros, the latter form occurring on 
other later maps. It appears as Fansur in the Mohit. G. Schlegel says that 
‘Fansur or Pantsur represents the Malay name Pantjur, water gushing out of 
a pantjuran, a gutter or aqueduct’. ‘Fansur is the Arab pronunciation of the 
yi&X&y pantjur' . Op. cit., pp. 9 and 79. 


H.C.S. I. 


which is 






in the country, and the people are many, and it goes from there to 
Sunda and to the Maidive {Diua) Islands, — because the Maidive 
Islands reach to opposite Sunda, and go on along the whole of 
Sumatra on the western side up to Gamispola and up to Canna- 
nore, and from these parts they go to the Maidive Islands in five 
days, according to the statements of the merchants who sail 
from the Maldives { ?) 

So having done their trade the Gujaratees return wealthy, and 
they sell and trade as they will. The pilots say that the route from 
Baros to Sunda is not very clean, and that up to Baros it is clean all 
along close to the land. I went behind this island a matter of fifteen 
leagues, and close to the land we found twenty-five fathoms. 

In front of the kingdom of Baros is this island which is called 
Nias. It has many people; it has fish oil and a great deal of dried 
fish and rice. They say that opposite to Priaman there is an 
island \blankY where there are only women and they have no 
men, and that they are got with child by others who go there to 
trade and who go away again at once and that others are made 
pregnant by the wind. This opinion is held by the people of 
these parts, in the sam.e way as the enchanted queen in the hill 
of Malacca called Gunong Ledang {Gulom Leydam)? The 

‘ In front of Baros lies Nias, the largest of the islands off the west coast of 
Sumatra. Marsden says that ‘on the western side of Nias, and very near it, is 
a cluster of small islands, called P^. Nako-nako [Naku Archipelago], whose 
inhabitants are of a race termed Maros’. History of Sumatra, p. 478. The 
native name for the island of Nias is Tano-niha (land of the people). It seems 
as if Maros and Tano-niha are combined in Pires’ Maruz Mjnhac or Mjnhac 
Maruz. The Mohit (p. 71) refers to the many islands named Micdmdrds, 
lying off the north-west coast of Sumatra, which clearly correspond to Pires’ 
Mjnhac Maruz. One of Eredia’s maps (fol. 24V.) has Pulomds, though south 
of the equator, and Berthelot’s map has P.miaes. 

^ This must be Siberut, the largest and northernmost of the Mentawei 
Islands. Pigafetta tells a similar story: ‘Our oldest pilot told us that in an 
island called Ocoloro, which lies below Java Major, there are found no 
persons but women, and that they become pregnant from the wind.’ Robert- 
son’s edition, ii, 169-71. Marsden says that in south-eastern Sumatra ‘they 
believed the inhabitants of the island Engano to be all females, who were 
impregnated by the wind’. The History of Sumatra, p. 297. Yule refers to this 
very old fable and suggests that Pigafetta ’s Ocoloro and Engano are perhaps 
the same. Marco Polo, ii, 406. 

3 Gulom leydam corresponds to Eredia’s monte de Gunoledam, ‘a lofty 
mountain, about half a league (9022 feet) high, a little more than a league 
around the base, and quite isolated’, where, ‘according to the Malay fable, 


people believe in this, as others believe in the Amazons and the 
Sybil of Rome. 

The kingdom of Singkel is bounded on one side by the king- Kingdom 
dom of Baros^ and on the other by the kingdom of Melabah 
(Mancopa) or Daya, and in the interior by strong, savage, bestial chell)*. 
people who eat men. This king is a heathen. This [kingdom] has 
benzoin, silk, some pepper, a little gold; it has small lancharas; 
it has rivers; it is not a very rich affair. They say that throughout 
this kingdom they eat men who are enemies. They trade here 
from Base and in the kingdoms of Baros, Tico, Priaman. 

The kingdom of Mancopa or Daya^ (it has both these names) Fol. 146V. 
is bounded on one side by Singkel and on the other side it goes 
almost as far as the islands hard by the land of Lamhri. This Mela- 
king is a heathen. In the interior it is bounded by [land in- 6a/; (Man- 
habited by] strong brutal people of the mountains range that 
goes above Pase and Pedir. This king’s country is large. Inside 
the country he is a powerful warrior king. The enemies they 
capture they eat. They trade there from Pase and Pedir. They 
do not eat [all] men, only those with whom they are at war. This 
[kingdom] has silk, benzoin and things from that part. Those 
who go there go in small pardos. They bring cloths from Cam- 
bay of the coarse [kind]. 

And since the account of the whole of the island of Sumatra Kingdoms 
all around is now done in accordance with the promise [in the 

^ angkaoau 

account of its] first country, it would not look well now to leave (Menan- 


that Queen Putry, companion of Permicuri, who founded Malacca, withdrew 
into retirement, and there by magic art remained immortal to the present 
day’ (fol. 32). Putri means a princess. Two of Eredia’s maps (fols. 1 1 and 13) 
have Gunoledam Monte, correctly situated. This is Mount Ophir (Gunong 
Ledang =the huge mountain), 4187 feet high, just north-east of Malacca. 

’ Quinchell, or chinquele as written before — The Singkel River debouches 
on the north-west coast of Sumatra, near Singkel roadstead and Singkel point. 
Berthelot’s map has Senquil. 

^ Although in the MS it is written Pdo, this is obviously a transcriber’s 

3 Mancopa corresponds to Melabah, a port and point on the north-west 
coast of Sumatra (Lat. 2° 46' N.). Barros says that when Diogo Pacheco went 
to discover the Ilhas do Ouro, he sailed around the north of Sumatra towards 
Baros, and arrived in front of the ‘Kingdom of Daya, which would be some 
twenty leagues from that of Achem, which is towards the west on the point 
of the Island’ (in, iii, 3b 



the kings of Menangkabau without speaking of them, because 
they are favoured with gold, the metal which God chose. 

The kings of Menangkabau are three. The chief one is called 
Raja Qunci Ter as ^ which is the place where he resides; the 
second is called Raja Bandar, brother of the king already 
mentioned; the third is called Raja Bongo or Buus^. These are 
the kings of Menangkabau. The first they say has been a 
Mohammedan for a short time — almost fifteen years; the [other] 
two they say are still heathens. These often quarrel, and there is 
war between them most of the time. 

Neigh- On the Malacca side, beginning at the land of Arcat up to 
bouring Jambi, the land is called Menangkabau, although it is more 
^M^ang properly the hinterland, and on the other side of the island of 
kabau and Sumatra, towards the south, are Priaman, Tico and Panchur. 
what land All the gold in the land of Menangkabau goes out through these 
^Mmang- Ports, and without doubt the most important part of the whole 
kabau. island is here, where the gold is found, whether there is little 
or much in the whole island (?). From Arcat to Jambi and from 
Priaman to Baros or Panchur, with the three kings of Menang- 
kabau, is more properly called the land of Menangkabau. 

Places and The chief mine from which the most gold is obtained, and the 
sold^tnes largest, is the country through which the river called (j!uen- 
land of <^yfygujs flows; and the second, where it is found more in powder, 
Menang- is Called Marapdlaguj They say that all the three above- 
kabau. mentioned kings can collect from one mine and the other, which 

* The two chief mines mentioned by Pires below were situated in a region 
where the gold mines of Sumatra are in greater number to-day. This 
corresponds better to Pires’ location of Menangkabau (between Arcat, Jambi, 
Priaman and Baros). It seems that the three places connected by Pires with 
the names of the kings of Menangkabau may be: Sungidaras (0° 12' S. — 
100° 20' E.), Bandarpitiak (0° 25' N. — 100° 30' E.) and Banjul (0° 3' S. 
— 100° 13' E.). 

2 (JuENCYNJGUjs — Besides the volcano Soenggirik (Lat. 1° S.), there is, 
well in the hinterland of Menangkabau, a small river, the Si Njnje,a tribu- 
tary of the Kampar, which might suggest Pires’ Quengynjgujs. 

Marapalaguj — The names of many places in Menangkabau begin with 
the word Muara or Mora, which means confluence or mouth of a river. 
Combined with other words it designates some place situated at the mouth 
of a river, or even the name of a district or region. There is a Muara (Lat. 1° 
i' S., Long. 100° 56' E.) at the confluence of a small stream with the river 
Palanghi, a tributary of the Indragiri, in the mountainous hinterland of 
Menangkabau, westward of the volcano Soenggirik. 



is a law of the land, and that no Moor may go to the mines. Only 
the heathen lords have the mines and they have the gold and 
from there it is distributed to the kings of Menangkabau, and 
from the three kings it is distributed to others, and [as for] the 
amount of gold which is obtained from the said mines every 
year, they say that they get two bahars of gold, and more 
according to the Moors. 

Those who have already been in the land of Menangkabau say 
that there is a sea of fresh water, which must be six leagues 
round and two leagues across, and that there are many villages 
round it and that they sail on the said sea, and that this sea is 
formed of water that comes from a large mountain range, and 
that there is good fishing in it and that the fish goes bad a short 
time after they have caught it, and that this lake is under the 
jurisdiction of all three kings. 

According to what they say, it appears correct that the island 
of Sumatra is seven hundred leagues round, beginning from the 
islands of Gamispola until you get back to them, going round as 
we have said, and there is no doubt that it has the said seven 
hundred leagues and more^ 

There are many heathen kings in the island of Sumatra and 
many lords in the hinterland, but, as they are not trading people 
and known, no mention is made of them. From here onwards 
we will speak of the island of Java and Sunda and we will pro- 
ceed with the account of them in this order. 

It must not be forgotten that this island of Sumatra has so 
many inhabitants that large quantities of clothes from the Kling 
and Gujaratees are used there, and when things were in the order 
they used to be, they all came to Malacca mostly to bring the 
merchandise from the whole island and to take the cloth and 
other merchandise to their own countries according to the 
custom of each. 

Sea in the 
land of 

Fol. I47r. 

the island 
of Suma- 

’■ Barbosa (il, 181) and Castanheda (ii, cxi) say that ‘Qamatra is 700 leagues 
in circuit as reckoned by the Moors who sail round it on both sides’. No 
doubt Pires’ information is from a similar Arab or Malay source. Seven 
hundred leagues, i.e. 2,240 miles or 4,144 kilometres, is a surprisingly 
accurate reckoning for that time. The circuit of the island is estimated at 
2300 miles. Marco Polo had said already that ‘it has a compass of two thousand 
miles or more’. 




ment of 
the land 
of Sunda. 


Description and account of the prosperous and proud and 
rich and chivalrous island of Java and Sunda — what can be 
known of them. 

The account will begin with the kingdom of Sunda and from 
there we will end at Blambangan {Bulambuam), which is the end 
of the known lands which have pates, and after we have spoken 
about the lords who live on the sea coast, we will then speak of 
the great heathen king within the hinterland of Java and of his 
chief captain Guste Pate, and we will start by telling what is 
known of the kingdom of Sunda. 

These are the lands of Java which have pates, lords and 
governors, and now as for Sunda. 

First the king of ^umda with his great city of Dayo, the town 
and lands and port of Bantam, the port of Pontang (Pomdam), 
the port of Cheguide, the port of Tamgaram, the port of Calapa, 
the port of Chi Manuk (Chemano)', this is Sunda, because the 
river of Chi Manuk is the limit of both kingdoms. 

Now comes Java and we must speak of the king within the 

The land of Cherimon {Cheroboam), the land of Japura, the 
land of I.osari (Locarj), the land of Tegal {Teteguall), the land of 
Samarang {Camaram), the land of Demak {Demaa), Tidunan 
(Tidumar), the land of Japara, the land of Rembang (Ramee), the 
land of Tuban (Tobam), the land of Sidayu (Cedayo), the land of 
Grisee {Agacij), the land of Surabaya (Curubaya), the land of 
Gamda, the land of Blambangan, the land of Pajarakan {Paja- 
rucam), the land of Camtd, the land of Panarukan {Panaruncd), 
the land of Chamdy, and when this is ended we will speak of 
the great island of Madura'. 

Some people affirm that the kingdom of Sunda take up half 
of the whole island of Java; others, to whom more authority is 
attributed, say that the kingdom of Sunda must be a third part 
of the island and an eighth more. They say that the island of 
Sunda is three hundred leagues round. It ends at the river Chi 

I Fires does not keep his promise, because he only speaks of Madura much 
later, at the end of the account of all the islands of the Eastern Archipelago. 



Manuk. They say that from the earliest times God divided the 
island of Java from that of Sunda and that of Sunda from that of 
Java by the said river, which has trees from one end to the other, 
and they say the trees on each side lean over to each country with 
the branches on the ground, large trees and beautifully tall. 

The king of Sunda is a heathen and [so are] all the lords of his Fol. 147V. 
kingdom. Sunda is [land of] chivalrous, seafaring warriors — ^ ^ 

they say more so than the Javanese, taking them all in all. people 
are men of goodly figure, swarthy, robust men. The king’s son of Sunda. 
inherits the kingdom, and when there is no legitimate son it is by 
election of the great ones of the kingdom. It is the custom in 
Sunda for the king’s wives and nobles to burn themselves when 
he dies; and so when anyone of lower rank dies in his house the 
same thing is done, that is, if they wish to do so, not because the 
women are persuaded by words to die, only those who want to 
do it of their own accord. And those who do not are Beguines^ 
leading a life apart and people do not marry them. Others marry 
three or four times. These few are outcasts in the land. 

The land of Sunda has as much as four thousand horses which 
come there from Priaman and other islands to be sold. It has up 
to forty elephants; these are for the king’s array. The kingdom 
of Sunda is justly governed; they are true men. The people of 
the sea coast get on well with the merchants in the land. They 
are accustomed to trade. These people of Sunda very often come 
to Malacca to trade. They bring cargo lancharas, ships of a 
hundred and fifty tons. Sunda has up to six junks and many 
lancharas of the Sunda kind, with masts like a crane (?), and 
steps between each so that they are easy to navigate. 

After the king of Sunda, who is called Samg Briamg, and his 
viceroy, who is called Cocunam, and after his Bendahara, who is 
called Mdcohumj, in the country, there come the lords captains 
of cities and places and ports. As in Java the lords are called 

* Beguinas, which may be translated as Beguines, does not necessarily mean 
women belonging to some religious order or community. In Pires’ time the 
word also meant women living in poverty and penance. However, Barros 
says: ‘As to the married (Javanese) women, when their husbands die, they 
must die with them, as a point of honour; and if they fear to die, then they 
must retire as nuns in their convents (the kind that existed in Java).’ iv, i, 12. 

See Pires’ description of the ‘ Tapas of ]ava', p. 177. 



pates-y in the language of Sunda they are called payhou: for 
instance, so-and-so payhou of such and such a place, because the 
language of Sunda is not that of Java, nor that of Java of Sunda, 
although it is only one island which is divided by the river Chi 
Manuk. [It is] very narrow in places, but the land is joined and 
all one island, and it has the said division which cuts it and runs 
through it so that it is in two, but anyone who was in the 
country would see this, because in places the branches of the 
outermost trees touch each other. 

City The city where the king is most of the year is the great city of 

The city has well-built houses of palm leaf and wood. 
They say that the king’s house has three hundred and thirty 
wooden pillars as thick as a wine cask, and five fathoms high, 
and beautiful timberwork on the top of the pillars, and a very 
well-built house. This city is two days’ journey from the chief 
port, which is called Calapa. The king is a great sportsman and 
hunter. His country contains stags without number, pigs, 
bullocks. They do this most of the time. The king has two chief 
wives from his own kingdom and up to a thousand concubines. 
The people of Sunda are said to be truthful. 

Merchan- It has a certain amount of better pepper than that from 
Ikingdom^ Cochin — Up to a thousand bahars a year; it has a great deal of 
of Sunda. long pepper; it has enough tamarinds to load a thousand ships; 

' Barros says that ‘The principal town of this kingdom (Sunda) is called 
Daio, situated a little in the interior’ (iv, i, 12), and it is represented in this 
position on Lavanha’s map of Java. L. Homem’s map of 1554 and D. 
Homem’s atlas of 1558 have chodaio next after it, and eastward of Sunda 
calapa (Batavia); Dourado’s atlases have odaio similarly situated. Crawfurd 
says: ‘What place Daio was, if such place existed at all, it is impossible to 
conjecture, as no place resembling it occurs in Javanese topography.’ 
Dictionary, s.v. Sunda. But according to Pires’ account, Daio or Dafo was 
situated somewhere about the place where Buitenzorg stands today, twelve 
miles westward of which there is a hill called Dahoe (939 metres). Veth 
asserts ‘We undoubtedly recognize in (Barros’) Daio the Sundanese word 
for city, i.e. dajuh. By it no other city can be meant than Padjadjaran’. Java, 
I, 278-9. However, the second map at the end of this volume of Veth’s work 
has Dajuh on the very spot where the modern Buitenzorg is situated — 
twenty-eight miles due south of Batavia. According to Crawfurd, ‘Pajajaran 
is the name of an ancient kingdom of Java, the capital of which was situated 
in the Sunda district of Bogor, about forty miles east of Jacatra or Batavia. 
The site is indicated by the foundations of a palace, and by a monumental 
stone’. Dictionary, s.v. Pajajaran. 



it trades chiefly in male and female slaves who are natives of the 
country | as well as others they bring from the Maidive islands, Fol. i48r 
because they can get from Sunda to the Maidive islands in six or 
seven days. Their chief merchandise is rice. Sunda also has gold 
of eight mates^ proof. It has a great many coarse cloths of its own 
kind, which also come to Malacca. 

There is rice that Sunda can sell, up to ten junkloads a year. Food- 
unlimited vegetables, countless meats, pigs, goats, sheep, cows 
in large quantities; it has wines; it has fruits; it is as plentiful as 
Java; and they often come from Sunda to Java to sell rice and 
foodstuffs, and two or three junks come from Malacca to Sunda 
every year for slaves, rice, and pepper, and pangajavas come 
from Sunda to Malacca every year with the said merchandise, 
and take the following back to Sunda: 

They buy white sinabaffs, both large and small, synhavas, Merchan- 
pachauelezes, halachos, atobalachos (these are white cloths). They 
buy Kling cloths, enrolados of large and small ladrilho which are ^^^king- 
then marketable, and they buy much. They buy pachak, catechu dom of 
and seeds from Cambay. They buy hretangis and clothes from Sunda. 
Cambay, turias, tiricandies, caydes^ in quantities. A great deal is 

' Mate — A touch or test of gold used in the East. 

^ Balachos and atobalachos — In his description of Negapatam, Pedro 
Barreto de Resende says that there were in the country ‘Many cloths, printed 
as well as white, and of every kind, and cheap; the white ones are called 
enrrollados, which are thin like bof etas', ballachos, cotonias of two threads; and 
the printed ones, many sorts of tafessiras of cotton thread, sarasas and many 
other sorts of them’. Livro do Estado da India, fol. 32ir. See Dalgado, s.v. 

Bofeta, Cotonias, Tafecira, Sara9a. Cotonias were ‘some kind of piece goods, 
apparently either of silk or mixed silk and cotton’ (Hohson-Jobson, s.v. 

Cuttanee), among which were the balachos and atobalachos. Weaving is still 
one of the chief industries of Choromandel. 

Ladrilho is a Portuguese word meaning ‘tile’, or ‘little square’ or 
‘squares’. Enrolados de ladrilho must mean chequered enrolados, or chequered 
woollen cloths. See note p. 93. Dalgado records the word Ludrilho, meaning 
perhaps a ‘raw or coarse cloth’, mentioned in a document of 1601 referring to 
Mozambique. Ludrilho may be a simple corruption of Ladrilho. 

Bretangis — Cotton cloths (blue, black or red) formerly exported from 
Cambay. Dalgado, s.v. Bertangi. 

Turias, tiricandies, caydes — ‘Turundam, said by the weavers to mean “a 
kind of cloth for the body”, the name being derived from the Arabic word 
turuk “a kind”, and the Persian one undam ‘‘the body”, is a muslin which was 
formerly imported, under the name of terendam, into this country’. J. A. 

Taylor, A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Cotton Manufacture of 

of Sunda. 

Ports of 



The port 
of Pon- 
dag) 3 . 


used there and bought for gold. Areca, rosewater and things like 
that are bought in Sunda. 

For small money, cash from China. They are pierced through 
the middle like ceitis, so that they can be threaded in hundreds. 
Every thousand is worth five Malacca Calais', for large money 
native gold of eight mates proof is current, which is worth three 
hundred Calais (which are nine cruzados) the tumdaya} (which is 
fifteen drams well weighed). 

The kingdom of Sunda has its ports. The first is the port of 
Bantam. Junks anchor in this port. It is [a] trading [port]. There 
is a good city on the river. The city has a captain, a very impor- 
tant person. This port trades with the Maidive islands and with 
the island of Sumatra on the Panchur side. This port is almost 
the most important of all; a river empties there by the sea. It has 
a great deal of rice and foodstuffs and pepper. 

The second port in the said kingdom of Sunda, going towards 
Japara, is Pontang, which is already a lesser port than Bantam. 
It has a great town. The people who trade with the ports 
mentioned above trade in this port. This port is on a river on the 
sea. They say that junks anchor there and that it is a trading 
port. It has rice, foodstuffs and pepper. 

Dacca, in Bengal, p. 46. London, 1851. Apud Yule, Hobson-Jobson, s.v. 
Piece-goods (Terindams). Tiricamdis may correspond to the ‘tucamdya 
nylora, which are green and red cloths ornamented with painted birds’, and 
Caydes may correspond to the ‘candya azares, which are thick cloths from 
Khorasans (Corafones)’, of the Lembranfa de Cousas da India em 1525, p. 49. 

* When referring to the currency minted by order of Albuquerque in 
Malacca, the Comentdrios say: ‘the opinion which found favour with everyone 
was that the gold coin should weigh a quarter of a tundia, which is worth 
among us a thousand reis'. (in, xxxii). As at that time the cruzado was worth 
400 reis, the value of 9 cruzados, or 3,600 reis, mentioned by Pires’ is not far 
from the 4,000 reis of the Comentdrios. Farther on, Pires refers to ‘The Java 
tundaia or tael’. 

^ Barros mentions Bantam, and Lavanha, editor of the first edition of 
the Fourth Decada, gives some particulars in a marginal note about this port 
and town which he calls both Bantd and Banta. (iv, 8, xii). In Livro de Mari- 
nharia, p. 251, it is called Sumdabata and Sumdabamta. It appears distinctly 
for the first time as banta on L. Homem’s map of 1554. 

3 The eastern extremity of Bantam bay is formed by the delta of the Pon- 
tang River, and a few miles inland there is the village of Pontang. Though 
well known to the Portuguese and mentioned by Barros as Pondang (iv, i, 
12), it appears for the first time on Lavanha’s map, as Pondang, and on 
Berthelot’s map as Pontan. 



The third, going in the direction mentioned, is the port of 
Chegujde. This port also has a town and a good one. Those we 
have mentioned trade there, and Priaman, Andalas, Tulang 
Bawang, Sekampung and other places. Junks anchor there. It 
has an important captain. It has rice, vegetables, pepper, many 

The port 
0/ Che- 


The fourth port is that of Tamgara. It is a port like the above. The port 
It has a goodly town and trade. It has a captain. It is a trading 
place like all the above mentioned. It has the things the other 

' In his enumeration of the Sunda ports Barros places Cheguide between 
Tangaram and Pondang. iv, i, 12. Crawfurd says that Barros’ Cheguide is 
‘probably meant for Chitarum, “indigo or blue river”.’ Dictionary, p. 422. 
But the Chitarum River debouches at the eastern end of Batavia Bay, and 
according to Fires’ enumeration Cheguide was situated much more to the 
west, before Calapa (Batavia), as it also appears on Lavanha’s map. The old 
Portuguese rutter from Malacca to Sunda says, very accurately, that ‘sailing 
from Pomta de Charnao (Tanjong Pontang) eight leagues (twenty-five and a 
half miles) due east you will find an island (Middelberg), and I will not 
mention the many more, farther out to sea; . . . two or three leagues east-south- 
east you will see other islands, and proceeding towards the land you will see 
a point (Tanjong Pasir or Untung Java) made by the land of Java, and on it 
a very long bank, and you will continue along it. At this point a river comes 
out into the sea, and there Francisco de Sa erected a padrdo (see note on 
Calapa, below) for the king of Portugal on 30 June 1527, and he gave to this 
river, where he put this padrdo, the name of rio de Sd Jorge, and the negroes 
call it Qidigy’. Then, three leagues beyond a small island, is the port of Sunda- 
calapa. Livro de Marinharia, pp. 251-2. This river Qidigy, or the Chi Sadane 
— ‘the only river (between Tanjong Kait and Tanjong Pasir) of any import- 
ance, which enters the sea by five months’, according to the Admiralty Pilot 
— must be Pires’ Cheguide. One of the main branches of the Chi Sadane, the 
Muli River, debouches by two mouths exactly where the bank lies which is 
referred to in the rutter. 

* There are two places between Pontang and Batavia that may correspond 
to Pires’ Tamgaram or Tamgara: the village Tangora, on the coast, six miles 
eastward of Pontang, and Tanara, a place situated one mile inland, on the 
Chi Durian, a couple of miles further eastwards. The best anchorage is off 
Tanara, in from two to four fathoms. If one of these places corresponds to 
Pires’ Tamgaram, it should have been mentioned before Cheguide. Or Tam- 
garam may correspond to Tangerang, an important place eastward of Batavia, 
eight miles inland on the Chi Sadane, and connected with it by a branch of 
the Chi Angk6, which debouches between Cheguide and Calapa. To com- 
plicate the problem still more, there is a village called Muara Tangerang, one 
mile inland from the mouths of the Muli River, the branch of the Chi Sadane 
at the mouth of which was Cheguide. 


Fol. 148V. 

The port 



The port of Calapa is a magnificent port. It is the most 
important and best of all. This is where the trade is greatest and 
whither they all sail from Sumatra, and Palembang, Laue, 
Tamjompura, Malacca, Macassar, Java and Madura and many 
other places. These nations trade also in the other ports. This 

* Calapa corresponds to modern Batavia. The map of c. 1540 has the 
following names on the north-west of Java, reading from east to west: aguada 
dalaim, Calupu, aguada do padra, Cumda; L. Homem’s map of iSS 4 has 
aguada de sigide, chodaio, Sunda calapa\ similarly in Diogo Homem’s and 
Vaz Dourado’s atlases. On Berthelot’s map of 1635 the place is already called 
Batavia. When he enumerates ‘the six most remarkable ports of Java’, 
Barros does not mention Calapa-, in its place he puts ‘ Xacatara, also called 
Caravam'. iv, i, 12. Xacatara is Jacatra or Jakatra, once the main city of the 
Hindu- Javanese Empire of Pajajaram; Caravam is by Crawfurd identified as 
‘Krawang, a different place’, namely the carnao mentioned in Livro de Mari- 
nharia, p. 252. But Barros in the next chapter refers twice to Calapa, without 
again mentioning Xacatara or Caravam. In the old rutter, reference is made 
to ‘a port called Sumdacalapa and it has a river’, the situation of which 
corresponds to Batavia. Loc. cit. In A brief Description of a Voyage performed 
by certain Hollanders to & from the East-Indies, with their Adventures and 
Success {1595—7)) there is the following statement: ‘The chief haven in the 
island (Java Major) is called Sunda Calapa’, and farther on ‘ . . . Icatra, a town 
about 10 leagues from Bantam’, ‘. . .Icatra (Jacatra), which is only remark- 
able for its river, and the country about it very fertile in fruits and pro- 
visions. In time past it was called Sunda Calapa, which had been a rich town 
of merchandise, but upon some occasions, and by reason of this hard usage, 
the merchants had withdrawn themselves from thence; therefore at this 
present there is little or nothing to do’. A Collection of Voyages and Travels, 
II, 404-13, London 1745. According to Crawfurd {Dictionary, p. 44) the site 
of the old town is that of the old native capital, Sund-Kalapa, or ‘Sunda of 
the coco-palms’, called in the polite language, from the Sanskrit, Joyakarta, 
popularly Jacatra, meaning ‘work of victory’. The Encyclopcedie van Neder- 
landsch-Indie says that ‘the conservative Chinese always mention Batavia as 
Kalapa, thus keeping the tradition of their forerunners who settled there in 
the sixteenth century or earlier’, s.v. Soenda Kalapa. In 1522 the Captain of 
Malacca, Jorge de Albuquerque, sent a ship under the command of Henrique 
Leme to a port of Sunda, with a present for the local king and offers of friend- 
ship; a treaty was signed on August 21st, and the Portuguese were authorized 
to build a fortress there, and a padrao or pillar was set up on the site chosen 
for the fortress building. From here certainly comes the aguada do padra 
(watering-place of the padrao) on the c. 1540 map; the fact that it is inscribed 
between the words Cumda and Calupu shows simply a confusion on the part 
of the c. 1 540 or an earlier cartographer, who may have used more than one 
different original, giving three place-names to what is in fact one and the 
same place — Calapa. The agoada dejoham lopes dalluim, on Rodrigues’ map 
(fol. 30), is the aguada dalaim of the c. 1540 map and aguada de sigide of the 
other maps, corresponding to Tanjong Sentigi. See Appendix II. Chodaio, 
next to Sunda calapa, is perhaps a mispelling for Ho Daio (The Daio). 



port is two days’ journey from the city of Dayo where the king is 
always in residence, so that this is the one to be considered the 
most important. It is almost joined to the land of Java, except 
that Chi Manuk is between them, and from Chi Manuk here 
takes a day and a night with a favourable wind. The merchandise 
from the whole kingdom comes here to this port. This port is well 
governed; it has judges, justices, clerks. They say that [it is] already 
[laid down] in writing [that] whoever does so and so will get so 
and so by the law of the kingdom. Many junks anchor in this port. 

The port of Chi Manuk is the sixth port. This is not a port in 
which junks can anchor, but only at the harbour bar, so they The port 
say; others say ‘yes’. Many Moors live here. The captain is a 
heathen. It belongs to the king of Sunda. The end of the king- (Che- 
dom is here. Chi Manuk has good trade. Java also trades with it. mano). 
It has a good large town. 

These lords captains of these ports are very important people. 

Each of them is much feared and greatly reverenced by the 
dwellers in the said places. They are great hunters. They spend 
most of their time in pleasure. They have well caparisoned 
horses. They vie greatly with the Javanese, and the Javanese 
with them. They say that the people of Sunda are more valiant 
than those of Java. These are good men and true, and the 
Javanese are diabolic, and daring in treacheries and they are 
proud of the boast of being Javanese. 

The people of Sunda and Java are neither friends nor enemies. 

They keep themselves to themselves. They trade with one an- 
other, and also if they meet on the sea as pirates, whoever is 
better prepared attacks, and so they use here, however great the 
friendship or relationship between them. 

The kingdom of Sunda does not allow Moors in it, except for 
a few, because it is feared that with their cunning they may do 
there what has been done in Java; because the Moors are cun- 
ning and they make themselves masters of countries by cunning, 
because apparently they have no power. The kingdom of Sunda 
is ended. Now we will enter into the kingdom of Java and what I 
have observed of it will be told. 

Island of Java all round, beginning at Cherimon (Chorohoam) [java.l 
up to Blambangan {Bulamhaum)\ and first we will speak of the 


heathen king of the interior and of his chief captain Guste Pate, 
and afterwards of the Moorish of the sea-coast in order. 

They say that the island of Java used to rule as far as the 
Moluccas (Maluco) on the eastern side and [over] a great part 
of the west; and that it had almost all the island of Sumatra under 
its dominion and all the islands known to the Javanese, and that 
it had all this for a long time past until about a hundred years 
ago, when its power began to diminish until it came to its present 
state, as will be described below. 

It is because of this power and great worth that Java had, and 
because it navigated to many places and very far away — for they 
affirm that it navigated to Aden and that its chief trade was in 
Bonuaquelim, Bengal and Base — that it had the whole | of the trade 
Fol. i49r. at that time. All the navigators were heathens, so that it thus 
gathered together such great merchants with so much trade 
along its sea coasts, that nowhere else so large and so rich 
was known. Some of them were Chinese, some Arabs, Parsees, 
Gujaratees, Belgalees and of many other nationalities, and they 
flourished so greatly that Mohammed and his followers deter- 
mined to introduce their doctrines in the sea-coasts of Java [to- 
gether] with merchandise. 

The island of Java is a large country, four hundred leagues 
Land of round, beginning at Chi Manuk and going along the Blam- 
Java. bangan side and turning along the other side to the other end. 

We will not speak of the sea-coast now, but only of the hinter- 
land. It is well shaded country, not marshy but of the same type 
as Portugal, and very healthy. 

The king of Java is a heathen; he is called Batara VojyayaK 
These kings of Java have a fantastic idea: they say that their 
nobility has no equal. The Javanese heathen lords are tall and 
handsome; they are lavishly adorned about their person, and 
have richly caparisoned horses. They use krises, swords, and 
lances of many kinds, all inlaid with gold. They are great hunters 

* Batara Vojyaya, or Batara Vigiaja as spelt farther on, corresponds to 
Batara Browijaya. Browijaya was one of the titles assumed by the sovereigns 
of Majapahit, the last Hindu kingdom of Java before the advent of Moham- 
medanism in the island. At the end of the thirteenth century the Browijaya 
assumed also the title of Batara, from the Sanskrit Avatara, the incarnation. 
Raffles, The History of Java, i, 299, II, 148, 151; Campbell, Jaua, p. 63. 



and horsemen — stirrups all inlaid with gold, inlaid saddles, such 
as are not to be found anywhere else in the world. The Javanese 
lords are so noble and exalted that there is certainly no nation to 
compare with them over a wide area in these parts. They have 
their head shorn — half tonsured — as a mark of beauty, and they 
always run their hands over their hair from the forehead up- 
wards and not as we do, and they are verj' proud of this. 

The lords of Java are revered like gods, with great respect and 
deep reverence. The land of Java is thickly peopled in the 
interior, with many cities, and very large ones, including the 
great city of Dayo where the king is in residence and where his 
court is. They say that the people who frequent the court are with- 
out number. The kings do not show themselves to the people 
except once or twice in the year. They stay in their palace, like the 
kings of Cochin in the cave (?), and there they are with all 
the pleasures and with feasts, with great quantities of wives and 
concubines. They say that the king of Java has a thousand eunuchs 
to wait on these women, and these eunuchs are dressed like 
women and wear their hair dressed in the form of diadems. 

And because the Javanese, trusting in themselves and given to 
this life, have lost a great part of their lands, the kings do not 
command, nor are they taken into account, but only the viceroy 
and chief captain, which each of them has; and the one who is 
ruling now in Java is Guste Pate^, his viceroy and his chief 
captain. This man is known and honoured like the [real] king. 

All the lords of Java obey him. Him they honour. This governor 
commands in every thing; he holds the king of Java in his hands; 
he orders him to be given food. The king has no voice in any 
thing, nor is he of any importance. Do not make a gesture 
towards a Javanese from the navel upwards, nor make as if to 
touch its head; they kill for this. 

The viceroy of Java, and its chief captain, is called Guste Pate. Guste 
He was formerly called Pate Amdura^. It is he and no one else 

* Guste was an honorary title given to a high personage, such as a regent or 
prince of the blood. 

2 This is the more likel3' translation, but it might equally be: ‘The former 
one was called Pate Andura’. Dames thought that ‘probably Pate Udora (or 
Pateudra) is identical with Pate Unur.’ II, 191. But Pires’ account shows 
that Pate Andtira, Udra, or Udura and Pate Unus are different persons. 


who rules all Java in the places and lands of the heathens. Giiste 
Pate is the father-in-law of the king of Java. This Guste Pate is a 
knightly man; he is always fighting in wars. He is always at war 
with the Moors on the sea-coast, especially with the lord of 
Demak. When he goes to war they say he will take two hundred 
thousand fighting men, two thousand of whom will be horsemen 
and four thousand musketeers. The king of Tuban told me this, 
and as they are great friends and the king of Tuban is his vassal, 
he may exaggerate his power. The Javanese are hunters; they 
have many fine hounds with collars and rings of gold and 

The Javanese are men who, if they write once and do not get a 
reply, do not write again, although it may be of great importance 
to them, and this in embassies and things like that. The Javanese 
are daring men and determined to die. They are gamblers and 
play for high stakes in their way, and so much that sometimes 
they stake their children. 

There are among the nations no men who are amocos like 
those in the Javanese nation, Amocos means men who are 
determined to die (to run amuck). Some of them do it when 
they are drunk, and these are the common people; but the 
noblemen are much in the habit of challenging each other to 
duels, and they kill each other over their quarrels; and this is 
the custom of the country. Some of them kill themselves on 
horseback, and some of them on foot, according to what they 
have decided. 

It is a custom of Java, and of the countries which we shall 
describe later, that when the king dies, many of his chief wives 
and concubines burn themselves alive, and some of the king’s 
people; and this is also done when the lords die, and any other 
important man. This is among the heathens and not among 
the Javanese who are Moors. And the women who do not 
burn themselves, drown themselves of their own free will 
with music and feasting. And when their husbands die, the 
most important women and men, when they are nobles, die 
by the kris, and so do the noblemen who want to die with the 
king. The common people drown themselves in the sea, or burn 

java 177 

Tapas means observants, like Beguines. There are about fifty Tapasof 
thousand of these in Java. There are three or four orders 
them. Some of them do not eat rice nor drink wine; they are all 
virgins, they do not know women. They wear a certain head- 
dress which is a full yard long and the end of which turns over 
like a crosier, and where it fits on to the head it has five white 
stars; and this contrivance is like the material of a black horse- 
hair sieve. And these men are also worshipped by the Moors, 
and they believe in them greatly; they give them alms; they 
rejoice when such men come to their houses. They do not eat 
in anyone’s house, but out of doors. They go two and two by 
law, and in threes, and they do not go about alone. People do not 
touch these mitres of theirs; they say they are sacred. I have 
sometimes seen ten or twelve of these in Java. 

Many Javanese women do not marry and [remain] virgins. Custom of 
They have houses in the mountains and there they end their those of 
lives. Others become Beguines after they have lost their first «6ser- 
husband — those who do not want to burn themselves. And th&y Javanese 
say that there are a large number of these in Java, that there tvomen 
must be more than a hundred thousand women; and afterwards 
they live in chastity, and they die in this, and they have houses 
in places for such retreat; and so the women, like the men, ask 
for food for the love of God. 

The land of Java is [a land] of mummers and masks of various Javanese 
kinds, and both men and women do thus. They have entertain- 
ments of dancing and stories; they mime; they wear mummers’ 
dresses and all their clothes. They are certainly graceful; they 
have music of bells — the sound of all of them playing together is 
like an organ. These mummers show a thousand graces like 
these by day and night. At night they make shadows of various 
shapes, like beneditos^ in Portugal. 

The Javanese have state oxen as sleek as genets, with carved Oxen in 
horns and hoofs; and they have two of these in a cart and on top 
of the cart are beautifully constructed cabins of ivory and other 
woods, and there they drive when they want to. The oxen are 

* This word is perhaps related to the sambenito or sanbenito {saccus bene- 
dictus), formerly worn by penitents. It is possible that the tdpih, or petticoat, 
worn by the graceful Javanese dancers, suggested the comparison to Pires. 

H.C.S. I. 




Fol. i5or. 



Custom of 
the king 
of Java 
when he 
goes out 
with his 
to amuse 

trained exactly like horses, and they go along with their horns 
facing the teatro^ and the carts go backwards (?); and this is a 
fair fashion and it looks very graceful, and it is a stately thing. 
And all the merchandise is carried all over the island of Java in 
ox carts. 

They have a great many eunuchs in Java. They go about 
dressed in women’s clothes; they wear their hair on top of the 
middle of their heads like a diadem. They serve as guards for 
the women, because the Javanese are very jealous men, and no 
one sees their women, except among the common people. But 
every nobleman, knight and rich man is careful that his women 
shall be seen by no one, and they are more ready to die about 
this than about anything else. The land is so much accustomed 
to this that they do not fail in any point of this custom and they 
keep it entirely. 

When the king is to go out, a proclamation is made in the city 
that the king is going merrymaking or hunting. No noblemen, of 
whatsoever estate and condition, leaves his home, nor any 
important man. The king goes out with two or three thousand 
men with lances in sockets of gold and silver. These go in front; 
then his concubines in carts, and very wantonly displayed (?) 
and very well dressed; and then his wives on elephants orna- 
mented as with vairs, and each of the concubines and wives is 
followed by thirty women on foot, each according to her rank. 
And behind comes the king wandering along with his Guste 
Pate, and they take hounds and greyhounds, and other [men] 
bearing three-pronged hunting spears beautifully inlaid. Any 
one found in a street through which the king goes or is to go, 
dies for it whoever he may be, unless it be a woman or a boy 
under ten years of age. 

The lords of Java — those who are lords in their own lands — 
go out in the same way, [the people being] under pain of death. 
The day he goes hunting he is no less respected in his land than 
the king in his; so they kill as if they were kings. This is the 
custom in Java. I heard of this in exactly the same way in Tuban, 
not only of the lord of Tuban, but this state is also kept up by 

* Though the use of the word teatro in this case is not easy to explain, it is 
possible that Fires meant by it the decorated body of the cart. 

JAVA 179 

his son-in-law who will inherit Tuban on his death; and I saw 
this also in Sidayu. 

Every man in Java, whether he is rich or poor, must have a Law of 
kris in his house, and a lance, and a shield — they are not 2H\Java <:on~ 
round wooden shields. And no man between the ages of twelve 
and eighty may go out of doors without a kris in his belt. They Hants. 
carry them at the back, as daggers used to be in Portugal, be- 
cause arms are cheap in Java, and this is the custom of the 

The pates are bowed to by their countrymen as in worship Courtesies 
with hands above the head. And they put their right hands on ^^Java. 
each other’s chests, and when they speak they cross their hands; 
and this [this is done by] the common people with the lords, and 
they speak at a distance about four or five paces and more often 
through a third person; because this is the polite custom to speak 
to lords through a third person when they are accompanied. I 
did not see the courtesies in the interior of the island of Java at 
the king’s court. I saw them on the sea coast in the Moors’ 
country. These Moorish pates, as will be told later, are great 
lords, and when they speak of courtesy and civility they say 
that there is every thing at court, and riches. And they speak of 
Guste Pate's affairs with great respect. 

They say that the Javanese used to have affinity with the 
Chinese, and one king of China sent one of his daughters to 
Java to marry Bator a Raja Quda, and that he sent her to Java 
with many people of China, and that he then sent money in the 
cash which are now currency, and they say that there was a 
junkload of them, and that that king was a vassal, not a tribu- 
tary, of the king of China and that the Javanese killed all the 
Chinese in Java by treachery. Others say that it was not so, but 
that one king was never related to or knew the other, and that 
the Java cash were brought to Java for merchandise, because the 
Chinese used to trade in Java long before Malacca existed. But 
now they have not been there for the last hundred years. Pol. 150V. 

The ports subject to the said king are three: one belongs to the Ports 
Moors and the other to the heathens, and the third to a son of subject to 
Gmte Pate, viz., Tuban which belongs to Daria Tima de Raja, 
a moor who is a vassal of the said king; and another is Blam- his Guste. 

dise of 
Java, and 

dise which 
is of 
value in 
Java and 
goes from 

l8o TOM^: PIRES 

bangan which belongs to Pate Pimtor\ and the other is Gamda 
which belongs to Guste Patels son. 

The land of Java has only heathen [merchandise]: infinite 
quantities of rice of four or five kinds, and very white, better 
than that anywhere else; it has oxen, cows, sheep, goats, buffaloes 
without number, pigs certainly — the whole island is full [of 
them]. It has many deer of great size, many fruits, much fish 
along the sea coast. It is a land with beautiful air, it has very 
good water; it has high mountain ranges, great plains, valleys — 
a country like ours. The people are very sleek and splendid, 
without blemish, with strong bodies, such as the said country 
demands. They are not black men, but rather white than black; 
and just as we stroke hair downwards they do it in the opposite 
way for elegance — this is not very appropriate for this chapter. 
Java also has delicious wines of its own kind, and many oils; it 
has no butter nor cheese; they do not know how to make it. 

Java has a goodly quantity of gold, eight and eight and a half 
mates proof; it has many topazes; it has cubeb, up to thirty bahars 
a year, and there is none anywhere else; it has long pepper; it has 
tamarinds, [enough] to load a thousand ships. There is very 
good cassia fistola in the jungles; there is cardamon, not much, 
rice, which is the chief merchandise, vegetables, slaves. For 
merchandise they have countless Javanese cloths, which they 
take to Malacca to sell. There is also a topaz mine in Java. They 
have enough copper and fruseleira bells for the needs of these 
parts. It is a great merchandise. 

All Cambay cloth and whatsoever merchandise comes from 
there to Malacca, all are of value in Java; Kling enrolados of large 
and small ladrilho, taforio, topitis^, and other kinds of cloths 
from Bengal, sinabaffs of all kinds, bleached and unbleached 
and of all other kinds; so that note should be taken of the large 
number used by so great a people, and all these are supplied 
from Malacca, and they get some few by way of Pamchur — 
some, but really it is nothing. And there is a good market for 

' Taforio — No such word appears to exist in Portuguese. It may stand for 
tafecira, an old term for several oriental cloths like chintz, either of silk or 

Topitis — A coarse cotton cloth from Ceylon. From the Cingalese tupatti. 
Spelt topettjs, or topetins, further on. 

java i8i 

the tails of white oxen and cows that come from Bengal and 

The coins of Java are cash^ from China; a thousand is worth Coins and 
twenty-five Calais — of those at a hundred for three cruzados. A zveights 
thousand are called a puon, and for a thousand they give you 
thirty less, for that is the custom of the country. They take these 
thirty as dues for the lord of the place; and all the trade is done 
with these [coins]. Java has no coinage of gold or silver. They 
like our money very much, particularly the Portuguese money; 
they say that the country where such money is made must be 
like Java. 

The Java tumdaya or tael is a quarter part more than that of 
Malacca. A tundaya of gold of eight mates proof is worth twelve 
thousand cash, which are worth nine cruzados at the rate of one 
thousand three hundred and thirty three and a third per cruzado. 

When the gold is taken from Java to Malacca there is a gain of 
one in every five. 

Every hundred and forty cash weighs one of our arrdteis of 
sixteen ounces. A cate contains two hundred and forty Java 
cash, because the Java bahar contains two hundred catties and 
weighs forty-eight thousand cash; but I bought only by the one 
I took with me. 

The Java ganta of rice and vegetables is smaller than that of 
Malacca — twenty-five ]zy2.gantas make twenty in Malacca^; and 
these weights and measures in all the different places will be 
dealt with generally in another book. There is hardly any profit 
on the merchandise that goes from Malacca to Java; but there 
is a good profit on the return. 

The chief dues customarily paid in Java on the merchandise Fol. isir. 

‘ Nunes refers to the ‘caixas that come from Java, which are of copper, 
larger than ceitis, pierced through the middle’. Lyvro dos Pesos, p. 41. Pires 
said above, when dealing with the ‘Coinage of Sunda’: ‘For small money, 
cash from China. They are pierced through the middle like ceitis’. Farther 
on, dealing with the Malacca coinage, he says that 'every hundred cashes 
make one calaim and weigh barely 33 ounces’, the calaim being worth 12 reis. 

2 According to Nunes the Malacca ganta was equal to 5 Portuguese 
quartilhos (1.75 litres), and the Moluccas ganta was bigger, equal to 5J 
quartilhos (1.86 litres). Lyvro dos Pesos, pp. 40, 58. He does not mention the 
Java ganta, but following Pires’ information it was equal to 4 quartilhos or a 
Canada (1.4 litres). See note p. loi. 


Dues that 
are paid 
all over 
Java for 
and pres- 
ents from 
those who 
go there 
with mer- 

How the 
lords on 
the sea 


that goes there by sea are the anchorage dues; and for these a 
present is made, and they pay four hundred cash out of 
every ten thousand on the merchandise which is sold in the 

I have already spoken of the lords of the island. Now I will 
begin to tell of the Mohammedan pates who are on the sea coast, 
who are powerful in Java and have all the trade because they are 
lords of the junks and people. 

At the time when there were heathens along the sea coast of 
Java, many merchants used to come, Parsees, Arabs, Gujaratees, 
Bengalees, Malays and other nationalities, there being many 
Moors among them. They began to trade in the country and to 
grow rich. They succeeded in way of making mosques, and 
mollahs came from outside, so that they came in such growing 
numbers that the sons of these said Moors were already Javanese 
and rich, for they had been in these parts for about seventy 
years. In some places the heathen Javanese lords themselves 
turned Mohammedan, and these mollahs and the merchant 
Moors took possession of these places. Others had a way of 
fortifying the places where they lived, and they took people of 
their own who sailed in their junks, and they killed the Javanese 
lords and made themselves lords; and in this way they made 
themselves masters of the sea coast and took over trade and 
power in Java. 

These lord pates are not Javanese of long standing in the 
country, but they are descended from Chinese, from Parsees and 
Kling, and from the nations we have already mentioned. How- 
ever, brought up among the bragging Javanese, and still more 
on account of the riches they have inherited from their ante- 
cessors, these men made themselves more important in Javanese 
nobility and state than those of the hinterland; and each of them 
is reverenced in his land as though he were something much 
greater. We will now begin to tell of each and of his land. Their 
lands extend as far as the mountains, which must be seven or 
eight leagues. 

Because our account carried us straight along the coast of 
Sunda through the lands of Java up to Chi Manuk, as we have 
said, we will now turn to Cherimon and we will end at Blam- 

java 183 

bangan, telling who is the Mohammedan in each and what junks 
and people it has; and first we will speak of Cherimon. 

The land of Cherimon is next to Sunda; its lord is called Lehe Cherimon 
Ufa. He is a vassal of Pate Rodim, lord of Demak. This Cheri- 
mon has a good port and there must be three or four junks there. 

It has a great deal of rice and many foodstuffs; it must have as 
many as ten small lancharas — they say that it has not so many 
now. This place Cherimon must have up to a thousand inhabi- 
tants. Pate Quedir — the one who revolted in Upeh^ — lives in 
this place Cherimon. There must be five or six merchants in 
Cherimon as great as Pate Quedir, but they all and the lord of 
Cherimon do honour to Pate Quedir, because they hold him to be 
a bold merchant and a knight. About forty years ago this place 
Cherimon was heathen, and the lord of Demak at that time had 
a slave from Grisee, and he made the said slave a captain against 
Cherimon, and the lord of Demak gave him the title of pate of 
Cherimon, and this his slave from Grisee who was lord of Cheri- 
mon is grandfather of this Pate Rodim who is lord of Demak 

This place Cherimon is about three leagues up the river; 
junks can go in there, they say. It is not a strong affair. This 
place has better wood for making junks than anywhere else in 
Java, although there is not much wood in the whole of Java. 

The land of Japura is bounded on one side by Cherimon and Fol. 151V. 
on the other by the land of Losari {Locaryy. It is a country with 
two thousand inhabitants in villages. It belongs to Pate Rodim, japura. 
The pate of Losari is called Pate Codia. This place has up to five 
lancharas; it has two junks. This place has a great deal of rice 
and wax, honey, foodstuffs. The people of Japura work on the 
land, lilitpate of this place is a knight, and a first cousin of Pate 

* Pate quedir, or Patih Katir, fought against the Portuguese in Malacca in 
1512. He had been appointed by Albuquerque, in succession to Timuta Raja, 
as chief of Upe, or Upeh, a Javanese suburb on the bank of the Malacca River, 
opposite the tovim of Malacca. 

* If Crawfurd is right, this may agree with his opinion that Pate Rodim's 
mother was not a princess of Champa, but ‘more probably the Creole 
descendant of a man of that nation’. See note, p. 185. 

^Japura may correspond to the Chi Sangarung, which debouches at 
Tanjong Losari. Three miles inland there is a place called Losari, in a small 
district of the same name. 


Land of 

Land of 



Land of 




Rodim. He obeys the said Pate Rodim, lord of Demak; he is 
almost like a captain of his in the said place. This Pate Rodim s 
father took this place Japura by cunning, and it has remained in 
his hands until today. It has a port, and you go up the river to 
the town. 

The land of Tegal is bounded on one side by Japura and on 
the other by Samarang {Camaram). This place has more rice 
than any other place in Java, here along the coast. The pate of 
this place is an uncle of Pate Unus\ he obeys the lord of Demak. 
It has a port and a river, where they load quantities of rice and 
other foodstuffs. This place has one junk, and sometimes it has 
nothing. It has small lancharas. They say that the land of Tegal 
is a land with four thousand inhabitants. They live in villages, 
not many together. The place Tegal must have about one thou- 
sand five hundred inhabitants; this place has as many as seven or 
eight merchants. 

Samarang is joined to Tegal at one end, and at the other to the 
land of Demak. The pate of Samarang is called Pate Mamet. He 
is father-in-law of Pate Rodim, lord of Demak, and is obedient 
to Demak. It has a port, not a very good one. I has rice and food- 
stuffs. This place has three junks, and four or five lancharas. It 
has about three thousand inhabitants. Now it has not a single 
junk; it is a country with no means of sailing, because those it 
had were burned in Malacca and it is unable to make others, 
according to what everyone says. 

The land of Demak is bounded on one side by Samarang and 
on the other by the land of Tidunan {Tidand). The land of 
Demak is larger than those we have described from Cherimon 
up to Demak. Its city has about eight or ten thousand houses, 
according to what they say. Pate Rodim is lord of this country. 
He is the chxei pate in Java. They make him out to be head of all 
the lords of Java who are his friends. Pate Rodim's father was a 
knight, a person of great judgement, and Pate Rodim's grand- 
father was a man from Grisee. Some say that he was a slave of 
the lord of Demak in whose time he happened to go to Demak; 
others say that he was a merchant. He is given with more 
authority as a slave. 

This Pate Rodim is closely related to the lords of Java because 



his father and grandfather have many daughters and they were 
all married to the chief pates. He is so powerful that he sub- 
jugated all the land of Palembang and of Jambi and the islands 
of Monomhy and many other islands over against Tamjompura 
and made them all obedient to him. He is greatly respected, this 
Pate Rodim. Rice and other foodstuffs come from his lands to 
Malacca. His father was a man who could collect together forty 
junks from his lands; now he could not collect ten, because this 
Pate Rodim was very young, and he must be about thirty now, 
and he gave himself over to concubines and his country has 
greatly fallen away from what it was before ^ 

And moreover, all that remained to him was destroyed in 
Malacca when Pate Onus, his brother-in-law, came to fight in 
the year fifteen hundred and twelve. He has many fighting men; 
he must have thirty thousand men in Java, and he must have ten 

‘ Pate Rodim, or Raden Patah, is supposed by some to be a grandchild of 
Angka Wijaya, Batara Browijaya of Majapahit. His father was Aria Damar, 
Prince of Palembang on Sumatra, an illegitimate son of Angka Wijaya. Aria 
Damar married a Chinese Princess of Champa, formerly married to his 
father, who gave her to him when she was pregnant. Aria Damar and the 
Princess of Champa had two sons, Raden Patah, the eldest, and Raden 
Hiisen. They were sent later on by their father to the court of their grand- 
father the Batara^ in Majapahit. But Raden Patah, when he grew up, refused 
to live at Majapahit, and later on founded Demak, and declared war on his 
grandfather. The latter sent an army against him under the command of 
Raden Husen, but Raden Patah, after being defeated, finished by beating the 
army of the Batara, and Majapahit, ‘the great and magnificent capital of 
Java, fell in 1475 to become a wilderness’, and the Batara fled. ‘Raden Patah 
Adipati Jimbum’ was the first Mohammedan sovereign of Demak, and 
reigned from 1477 to 1519, when he died at a great age. Raffles, History of 
Java, II, 125 seqq.) CzxnpheW, Java, 78 seqq. Crawfurd, however, dismisses 
‘the story of the princess of Champa, and of the birth of Raden Patah’. He 
calls her ‘a Chinese, or more probably the Creole descendant of a man of that 
nation . . . some humble female, clandestinely withdrawn from Champa, and 
procured for the king of Java’s harem’. ‘This woman was repudiated by the 
Javanese monarch, when pregnant of Raden Patah, and made over to Ary a 
Damar, chief of the Javanese colony of Palembang, in Sumatra, said to have 
been Browijoyo’s own son. Raden Husen was a real son of Arya Damar, by 
the same mother.’ History of the Indian Archipelago, ii, 310-13; Campbell, 
op. cit., p. 129. Much of what Pires says about Pate Rodim conflicts somewhat 
with several writings on Javanese history. He says, for instance, that in his 
time Pate Rodim was thirty years old, though it seems that he was much 
older. Pires wrote according to what he heard, and in spite of possible 
inaccuracies his information is none the less valuable on many points. 


1 86 

thousand in Palembang. He is constantly at war with Guste P ate 
and with the lord of Tuban. He has lost many people in war, and 
he is poor, and he has only five or six pangajavas in Demak and 
not a single junk, and if he did not beg Malacca in its mercy to 
make him its vassal and protect him, and to give him an outlet 
for his merchandise, he would be utterly lost, because as he has 
Fol. i 52 r. not done any trade for three or four years | he is greatly ex- 
hausted, so that he must of necessity be a tributary to Malacca 
for his own salvation, and the people are already leaving his land 
for other places because there is no trade in merchandise. 

He used to get rid of all the crops from his lands in Malacca; 
thus he used to send [them] in his junks and pangajavas, while 
merchants from Malacca went to his country in junks, from 
which trade he used to have large quantities of merchandise in 
his lands, and made a large profit. And because he does not do it 
now, he is ruined, and they say that he and Pate Unus spent 
more than a hundred thousand cruzados on the armada that 
came against Malacca. There is no doubt that he is at the end of 
his resources, because that is what they say. He could not live 
if he did not rely on Malacca. Large quantities of merchandise 
are consumed in his country, from the Gujaratis as well as from 
the Kling and from China and Bengal, of which the country is 
now in want for the reasons we have mentioned. Demak has a 
rich river. Junks cannot enter it except at full tide. 

Land of The land of Tidunan is bounded on one side by Demak and 
Julunan ^ on the Other by Japara. This pate is called Pate Orob. He is an 
’ uncle of Pate Onus — brother to his father. They say that he does 
not obey anyone. He is a man of good judgement, by what they 
say. He has no junks now; he has two or three pangajavas. He 
has a good river; junks cannot get into it. This country has a 
great deal of rice and many foodstuffs. The land of Tidunan 
must have two or three thousand men, and this [pate\ often 
fights with the people of the hinterland, and helps Pate Rodim's 
people, because Guste Pate often attacks Demak, Tidunan 
(Tidonam) and Japara, and inflicts losses on the people of the 

> Tidana or Tidonam. A few miles up the river Serang, which discharges 
into the sea seventeen miles north-north-east of Samarang, there is the village 
of Tidunan. Ttdutnar, as spelt above (p. i66), must be a transcriber’s mistake. 



country. They say that [Pate Orob] with his advice governs Pate 
Unus and Pate Rodim, and they obey him like a parent; but each 
of them is more powerful than the said Pate Orob. 

We are now in the land of Pate Onus, the knight of whom the Land of 
Javanese speak, because they say that he is a great warrior in 
Java and very prudent; and this Pate Unus had a great deal of 
land in his possession. His grandfather was a working man in 
the islands of Laue and he went to Malacca with very little 
nobility and less wealth; and he married in Malacca and had the 
son who was father to Pate Unus. And in Malacca he went on 
making money and traded in Java, and about forty or forty-five 
years ago he cunningly killed the pate [of] Japara, which was 
weak and nothing much [of a place] with ninety or a hundred 
inhabitants; and he also took the land of Tidunan. Afterwards, 
and through his cunning, it became such that he peopled it and 
it was united (?). He was the most famous lord of Java for his 
strength and for his good fellowship among his own people. 

The port of Japara is at the foot of a great and very high 
mountain called [Muria]^ The land of Japara is bounded on one 
side by Tidunan and on the other by the land of Rembang 
(Rame). Japara has a bay with a beautiful port. In front of the 
port are three islands like those of Upeh^, and large ships can 
enter into it. Those who sail past Japara can see the whole town. 

This is the best port we have described up to now, and in the 
best situation. Everyone who wants to go to Java and to the 
Moluccas calls there in the land of Japara. It is a land well 
shaded. He was such a daring man that he took the island of 

* This mountain, the name of which was left blank in the MS, corresponds 
to the Muria mountains, about twelve miles from the coast. Their highest 
and most conspicuous peak is Sutorengo, 5233 feet (1595 m). 

^ About two and a half miles west of the mouth of the Malacca River lies the 
islet Upeh, northward of which there are some rocks that emerge at low tide. 

One of Eredia’s maps (fol. iiv), showing the country around Malacca, has 
this Pulo Vpe and one of the rocks. There are not three islands in front of the 
port of Japara. There is the Panjang island, lying by the southern entrance to 
Japara road, nearly two miles from the mouth of the Japara River, which 
might resemble Pulo Upeh; but there are no other islands. Perhaps Pires 
refers to some part of the reef that extends from Kelor far to the northward; 
the peninsula of Kelor (projecting from the main shore opposite Panjang) was 
formerly an island. Island and reef might have reminded him of Upeh and 
the neighbouring rocks. 


1 88 

Banka under his jurisdiction, and that of Tamjompura, and Laue 
and other islands, and made his country great. Japara used to 
have many junks, and he was nearly as great a lord as the lord of 
Demak, though Japara is under Demak, which has more people 
and more land. And the son, Pate Unus, wanted to put together 
what remained of his father’s wealth and what wealth Pate 
Rodim had, and decided to take Malacca from the then king of 
Malacca, because he had taken offence because they had not 
done honour in Malacca to the captain of a junk of his as he had 
hoped. And in the meantime Malacca was captured by the 
Governor of India, Afonso de Albuquerque; and when they 
heard this, the mollahs and chief people there were said what 
enterprise could be more just than to take the city from the 
Fol. 152V. Portuguese. And [having made] this decision | they completed 
their armada in the space of five years with the help of Palem- 
bang and came down on Malacca, about a hundred sail, and the 
smallest of the hundred cannot have been less than two hundred 
tons burden, and they were received in front of the port of 
Malacca, where they did not remain at anchor for more than 
about six hours. They anchored at night fall, and at midnight 
they went away with the land breeze, and about seven or eight 
reached home; the others were burnt and sunk and captured. 
About a thousand men were killed, and as many more captured. 

And even in his own port of Japara the Pate Unus was not 
safe, and said that the Portuguese had treated him gently. And 
now he goes hunting. Pate Unus is twenty-five years old. He is 
greater than all the Javanese in nobility and presumption. He is 
waiting for them to propose peace, certain that they must pro- 
pose it as it fits them. Japara now has three junks and two or 
three pangajavas. His country has a great deal of rice. In his 
country they use what we have already enumerated for Java. He 
is married to a sister of Pate Rodim, and he asked the late king of 
Malacca for one of his daughters in marriage and sent ambas- 
sadors about it. 

The port of Japara is at the foot of a very high mountain. And 
in this mountain there is a plain three or four leagues in extent, 
and Japara is on the edge of a plain on flat ground, not marshy 
but very good and well shaded. They say it has beautiful meat 

JAVA 189 

and much fish. Japara certainly appears to be the key of all Java, 
because it lies on the point and is in the middle of all Java, 
and it is the same distance from there to Cherimon as to 
Grisee. It is a great trading place because it is a port, and they 
say that from there the merchants used to scatter to other places, 
not to mention Grisee. 

The land of Rembang is joined at one end to Japara and at the Land of 
other to the land of Cajongam^; and because Cajongam was 
destroyed by Giiste Pate it had no more inhabitants; Rembang ' 

took some of it and so did Tuban, so that we can say that at the 
other side it [Rembang] joins the land of Tuban. The pate of 
Rembang is called Pate Morob. He is an uncle of Pate Unus, 
and Pate Unus is his sister’s son. This country has a great deal of 
rice and it has wood for junks and they used to be made there of 
old. They say that he has none now, and has about two panga- 
javas because he supported Pate Unus in his plan against 
Malacca and each of them lost what he put in the armada. 

He is at war with the people of the hinterland. They say he is 
a man who must have about four thousand men in his country. 

They work the land and live on their crops. His country has 
large bays; it is well shaded. Pate Rodim has a large slice of the 
land of Cajongd in his country. Pate Rodim is a nephew of his 
also. Some of this land is jungle and is not cultivated, because 
Tuban came down on it and destroyed it, and others do like- 
wise. I saw a large piece of this land with great palm groves and 
other trees and without inhabitants, because they also fear the 
Bugis; they fled when the land of Cajongd was destroyed. The 
merchants who have money come and make junks in this land of 

The land of Tuban touches the land of Cajongam and Rem- Tuban 
bang on one side, as we have said above, and on the other side it (Tubam). 
touches Sidayu {(j!edayo) and along the coast it is supported by 
Guste Pate, l^h&pate of Tuban is called Pate Vira. As a mark of 
honour Guste Pate has now given him the name of Anatimao de 
Raja, which is a very honoured name. The town of Tuban has a 
series of palissades [within] a crossbow [shot] of the sea; it is 

* Possibly Saranjawa, a village at the mouth of a small river, half-way 
between Rembang and Tuban. 



surrounded by a brick wall, partly of burned and partly of sun- 
dried bricks; this must be two spans thick and fifteen high. 
Around the walls on the outside there are lakes of water, and on 
the land side are large carapeteiros^ and brambles against the 
wall, which is pierced with large and small loopholes, and has 
high wooden platforms along the wall inside. Tuban is on a plain 
Fol. i53r. and I Tuban must have about a thousand inhabitants inside its 
walls. Every important person has his bricked enclosure, with 
well-made doors, and with his people’s houses inside, according 
to what he has. At one large bombard shot from the land you 
can anchor in two fathoms and three and four, and at one 
berfo^ shot it is about a fathom and a half; and at low tide there 
are breakers, and when the tide ebbs it goes back two or three 
crossbow shots, and there is fresh water at low tide, and quite 
sweet water in springs, and if you put your feet down without 
noticing the holes you get stuck in the mud up to your middle. 
So this land of Tuban is subject to Guste Pate, and this is the 
nearest port to the city of Daha {Dayay where Guste Pate has his 
residence; and they have made an agreement that Guste Pate will 
help him with ten or twenty thousand men when enemies come 
upon Tuban, because all the Moorish pates of Java hate him 
because he is friendly with the Cafre. The men of Tuban are 
knights — more than any of the other Javanese. No lord of Java 

* Carapeteiro is the name given in Portugal to a small thorny tree, the sub- 
species Piraster of Pirus communis Linn. Pires was obviously referring to some 
native thorny plant which reminded him of the carapeteiro. 

^ An ancient short cannon, much smaller than the bombard. 

3 Day a, or Daha, as spelt farther on. Though the Encyclopcedia van 
Nederlandsch-Indie, s.v., says that Daha, capital of the Hindu Empire of the 
same name in Java, was ‘somewhere between Panorogo and Madioen’, which 
corresponds to the western side of the Willis mountains, Crawfurd {Diction- 
ary, s.v. Daa) asserts that this ancient kingdom of Java corresponds ‘with the 
modern province of Kadir’, which is on the eastern side of those mountains. 
Campbell is quite positive in identifying Daha with Kediri. {Java, pp. 60-3), 
and a map dated December 31st 1889, published by Verbeck, has Djaha, a 
place where there are ruins and stone inscriptions, eight miles north-west of 
the town of Kediri. Tuban is indeed the nearest port, on the northern coast 
of Java, to Kediri, which lies fifty-five miles due south through almost flat 
country. Tuban is distant forty-nine miles from Djaha. This agrees also with 
what Pires says below, that Daha is distant two days of good going from 
Tuban, in a land of waggons and roads. Lavanha’s map has DAIA written 
near the coast, between Agaci and Passaruam. 

java 191 

is friendly with him. Because his town is strong and difficult to 
land at, and [because] he is allied with Guste Pate, he fears no 
one and he gets the better of them all. 

Because he is a kinsman and friend of Guste Pate he has richly 
inlaid things in his lands; he has krises, lances of many kinds; he 
has three-pronged hunting spears; he has caparisoned (.?) 
genets; he has three elephants; he has a thousand hounds and 
others [which are] bloodhounds; he has two hundred concu- 
bines; he has rich and well-built houses, where he lives. He 
rides every morning in waggons with a great deal of wood-work 
done in a very beautiful way. He does not come out into the 
countryside, as he shuts himself up, except sometimes very late he 
rides on elephants and sometimes on horses. He spends three days 
in the town and as many more out hunting. The country is well 
shaded, with a great deal of rice which come from inland; it has 
many kinds of wood, much wine and much fish and good water. 

It has many tamarinds, much long pepper; and cubebs is sent 
there; [it has] beef, pork and kid and goat flesh, venison, 
chickens and countless fruits; the land is plenteous in all these, 
and [he] shows himself a great servant of the king our lord. His 
people speaks to him from afar, but he embraces us and hopes 
that through his truth and good [faith] he will come to be chief 
person in Java. He is a man of between fifty-five and sixty. He is 
Javanese by birth; his grandfather was a heathen and afterwards 
became Mohammedan. This man does not seem to me to be a 
very firm believer in Mohammed. 

The man who will inherit the land on his death is the son of 
one of his sisters and married to one of his duaghters. This man 
did not make such a good impression on me as the old lord of 
Tuban. You will reach the city of Daha in two days of good 
going. [This is a] land of waggons, good [country], well shaded 
like our own, not marshy, with roads going through populated 
country. There are heathens in the town; they live in a quarter 
by themselves. The land is well populated, with important 
houses. There are many knights in Tuban. I saw a heathen in 
Tuban who came there from the court to see us. They said he 
was a nobleman. He had three handsomely caparisoned genets, 
with stirrups all inlaid, with cloths all adorned with richly 

Land of 

Fol. 1 53V. 

Land of 




worked gold, with beautiful caparisons; he brought with him 
about ten men with rich lances. He was robust, tall, freckled, 
with his hair curly on the top and frizzy; and they all did him 
obeisance. And he only came to see what sort of men we were, 
and he lodged outside the town and did not go out except once 
during the day, towards afternoon; and I talked to him many 
times. The lord of Tuban often professes that he was the first to 
accept and maintain friendship with the Portuguese; and he says 
that he does not want his sons to remember him for anything 
else. He is a good man and his friendship is faithful, and he is 
certainly always deserving of favour. If the whole country is 
added together, there must be six or seven thousand fighting 
men in Tuban; it has no junks nor c&rgo pangajavas of its own. 

The land of Sidayu is joined on one side to the land of Tuban 
and on the other to the land of Grisee. The lord of Sidayu is 
called Pate Amiza\ he is a nephew of Pate Moroh, the lord of 
Rembang, and he is first cousin to Pate Unus and second cousin 
to Pate Rodim. He is a youth of twenty years old. He is married 
to the daughter of the lord of Grisee. He has with him a brother 
of his father’s who is called Pate Bagus. I talked to these people 
many times in Sidayu. This Pate Bagus governs the country; the 
youth goes hunting with his concubines. 

Sidayu is not a trading country. It is smaller than Tuban. The 
town there is surrounded by a wall, like Tuban. It is a poor 
affair, with few inhabitants. There are important men who live 
on their crops. He must be a man with two thousand vassals; 
they defend his country. The coast is bad for landing, all stones. 
It has rice and foodstuffs; it has no junk nor pangajavas. They 
say that the land is good inland. The people of Sidayu are more 
rustic than any of those described up to now and the country 
is largely heathen. This [lord] is friendly with the lord of Tuban. 

We have reached Grisee (Agracij), the great trading port, the 
best in all Java, whither the Gujaratees, and [people of] Calicut, 
Bengalees, Siamese, Chinese, and [people of] Liu-Kiu (Lequeos), 

* Qidaio on one of the maps (fol. 30) and Rio de fidaio in one of the draw- 
ings (fol. 99) of Rodrigues. 

* Agaci or Agraci corresponds to Grisee or Geresik. Agrafi on Rodrigues’ 
map (fol. 37) and drawing (fol. 96). 


used to sail of old. This is the jewel of Java in trading ports. 
This is the royal port where the ships at anchor are safe from 
winds, with their bowsprits touching the houses. It is called the 
merchants’ port; among the Javanese it is called the rich people’s 
port. Grisee is bounded by Sidayu, and on the other side by 
Surabaya (Curubaya), and it has the large island of Madura 
facing it, within sight. 

The sea beats against Grisee (Agraci), and it has two towns 
which are separated by a little river, which is almost dry at low 
tide. Pate Cuguf is lord of the larger of the towns with the 
greater number of inhabitants; and Zeynall of the other port. 
These two are constantly at war; and they do not go from one 
part to the other or from the other to the other on pain of death; 
and sometimes they make truces — at the time of their harvest, 
or when junks come to the port; and afterwards they go back to 
their enmity. This has been going on for a long time. Zeynall sets 
himself up as a knight; the other has more men. Each defends 
himself against the other, and they live like this with sentinels. 
Pate Cuguf is Malayan by birth. Pate Cuguf's grandfather is 
called \blank\ and his son (the father of Pate Cufuf) is called 
Pate Adem. This Pate Adem came and settled in Malacca; he 
had his houses in Malacca and traded in merchandise. In 
Malacca he married a Malayan woman, by whom he had Pate 
Cugufy and the said Pate Cuguf lived in Malacca for a long time. 
On the death of the grandfather, Pate Adem went to Grisee to 
take possession of his land, and a long time afterwards he sent 
from there to Malacca to summon his son, who went there with 
all his household. On the death of the father, who was called 
Pate Adem, the said Pate Cuguf stayed in Grisee. This man used 
to have the trade with the Moluccas and Banda (Bandam) as long 
as he had junks. This Pate Cugufs grandmother was a sister of 
Sri Nara Diraja {Cerina de Raja), the father of the Bendahara 
whom the king ordered to be beheaded here; and the late king 
of Malacca was also a grandson of this Bendahara, father of the 
one they killed, so that Pate Cugufis a second cousin german to 
the late king of Malacca ^ 

* The history of Malacca before the arrival of the Portuguese is a compli- 
cated affair. As far as I was able to ascertain, a sister of the Bendahara Tuan 

H.C.S. I. 



This Pate Cufuf is a merchant and much given to trading in 
merchandise. He has many merchants in his country. He is a 
man of good judgement. He must be about fifty years old. There 
used to be many junks and many cargo pangajavas in his port; 
now there are none. He has many calaluzes and namotes^ for 
raids, as have the other pates of Java, all of whom have a large 
number of calaluzes, but they are not fit to go out of the shelter 
of the land. They are carved in a thousand and one ways, with 
figures of serpents, and gilt; they are ornamental. Each of them 
has many of these, and they are very much painted, and they 
certainly look well and are made in a very elegant way, and they 
are for kings to amuse themselves in, away from the common 
people. They are rowed with paddles. They ought to be used in 
Portugal, in state. The land of Grisee contains about six or 
seven thousand men. 

Many cloths of all kinds are disposed of in Grisee, and in 
large quantities. They are sold to most of Java and to many 
other islands. And because he used to own the shipping to the 
Moluccas and Banda, he and his merchants used to buy large 
quantities, and great trade was done in Grisee. And through the 
destruction of Malacca they do not navigate, nor do they trade, 

AH Sri Nara Diraja was mother of Raja Kasim, who was the fifth king of 
Malacca, with the title Muzaffar Shah. Tuan Ali Sri Nara Diraja made an 
arrangement with his nephew Muzaffar Shah, and married one of the latter’s 
wives, Tuan Kundu, who was divorced for the purpose. From this marriage 
two children were born — Tuan Senaja, afterwards wife of Alauddin (son of 
Mansur Shah, the sixth king, who was son of Muzaffar), the seventh king of 
Malacca, and Tuan Mutahir, the Bendahara slain in 1510 by his nephew the 
Sultan Mahmud (eighth king of Malacca, and son of Tuan Senaja). Cf. Win- 
stedt, A History of Malay, pp. 44 seqq. But perhaps the grandmother of Pate 
Cufuf was another sister of Sri Nara Diraja, not Muzaffar Shah’s mother; 
otherwise Pires would probably mention it, and the relationship would be 
much more complicated. In any case, Pate Cufuf, being a grand-son of a 
sister of Tuan Ali Sri Nara Diraja, was second cousin german of the king 
Mahmud of Malacca. The Malay Annals refer to the visits of this ‘Javanese 
noble Pateh Adam’ to Malacca, and his adventurous marriage to Tuna Manda, 
an adopted daughter of the Dato Sri Nara Diraja, who was a brother of 
Tuan Mutahir. Wilkinson, The Malacca Sultanate, pp. 60 and 50. So Pires 
is right once more, though the mother of Pate Cupuf was only the adopted 
daughter of Dato Sri Nara Diraja. 

^ Calaluz — A kind of swift rowing vessel used in the Indian Archipelago. 

Naviote — This word, unknown in Portuguese today, must be the same as 
naveta, an antiquated word meaning a small ship or craft. 



nor have they any junks, because most of the Javanese junks 
come from Pegu, where the Javanese — and other people who 
bought in Malacca — used to send for them to be made; because 
the Pegu people bring the merchandise and the junks all as 
merchandise, and having sold | the merchandise they used to Fol. i54r. 
sell the junks. And because it is already five years since this 
stopped, and the Governor of India burned and defeated 
all the enemy junks, they were all left without any, and they 
have no junks. 

And so Java is alone and without junks in the way that has 
been described, and the lords who used to have junks before 
their defeat have none now, and those they were able to muster 
were taken by Pate Unus, and when he was routed he only 
brought three back, so that the whole of Java and Palembang 
has not as many as ten junks and ten cargo pangajavas, which 
are like ships. Java is more for calaluzes and small pangajavas 
than for large junks, because Pegu used to supply them all 
with junks — Pedir, Pase, Pahang and Java and Palembang. 

Most of them are from Pegu. Some are made in Java, but 
they are few, and most of these purchases were made in 
Malacca. The Javanese are not capable of making ten junks in 
ten years, 

I have already talked about Pate Cupuf, the lord of the chief 
town of Grisee. There now remains [to tell of] Pate Zeinall; 
and because his land lives for the most part on its own crops 
[and has no trade], and they fight in the interior of the island 
with his enemies, there is nothing worth spending time on, 
because he has nothing on the sea; on land he defends him- 
self against his neighbours. The Javanese say that this Pate 
Zeinall is a knight and the oldest of all the pates in Java. He 
has many relations: he is an uncle of Pate Amiza of Sidayu, 
and of Pate Unus, and the brother-in-arms of the old Pate 
Rodim, and now he is the same thing to Pate Rodim the son. 

He is full of fancies, and poor. He says that should the 
Captain-Major [Afonso de Albuquerque] make peace with the 
lord of Demak, the lords of Java would almost be forced to 
make it also, saying that the lord of Demak stood for the whole 
of Java, 


Land of The land of Surabaya is bounded on one side by the lands of 
Surabaya Qrisee and on the other by the lands of Ganda. The lord of 
bak^. Surabaya is called Pate Bubal, and Guste Pate has now given 
him the name of Jurupd Galacam Jmteram, which means ‘the 
excellent captain’. He is a knight and a person of great authority, 
more honoured in affairs of arms than any of those who are now 
living along the sea-coast, whether Javanese or Moorish; and all 
the Javanese rely on him, on his personality and counsel. He has 
a great deal of land and he is often at war with Guste Pate, and 
sometimes they are friends. He has many war calaluzes at sea. 
He is a brother-in-arms of the lord of Grisee. They say that his 
grandfather was a heathen slave of Guste Pate’s grandfather. 
Others say that his grandfather was from Sunda. In any case he 
is greatly esteemed. He must have about six or seven thousand 
fighting men in his country. 

He is constantly at war, and he is not given to any other 
exercise. All his Javanese neighbours receive counsel and help 
from him. He is closely related to the Moorish pates. He is very 
much at war with the pate of Blambangan, who is a heathen 
enemy of his. The Javanese also send him help when the other 
attacks him, because the pates of Blambangan and of Gamda are 
more powerful. This \Pate Bubat] is greatly esteemed because 
he is always at war. His land has foodstuffs like the other Javan- 
ese lands, because all the land of Java has them. The merchan- 
dise goes out from Grisee. He very much wants there to be 
friendship with Malacca, and they say that he is working hard 
for it. He has already written to this fortress, and they have 
written him twice. This pate is poor. His land has neither junks 
nor pangajavas. They live on their crops, as others do in Java. 
Sometimes his captains go plundering on the sea. 

Land of land of Gamda is large. It is joined on one side to Sura- 

Gamda*. Other to lands of Canjtam, Panarukan {Pana- 

' It appears as ssurubaia on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 37) and as Surubaia in 
the drawing (fol. 96). 

2 As the port of Surabaya is at the mouth of the Kali Mas, the northern- 
most branch of the river of Surabaya delta, it may possibly be that Fires’ 
Gamda was situated at the mouth of the Kali Brantas, the southernmost 
branch of the same delta, some twenty miles from the former. Near the mouth 
of the Kali Brantas there is a village called Djangan. 

JAVA 197 

rucam), Pajarakan {Pajurucam). The pate of Gamda is called 
Pate Sepetat. He is a heathen, son of the great Guste Pate of 
Java. The Moors have reached as far as here and were thrown 
out by Guste Pate, who gave these lands to one of his sons. From 
here onwards there are no Moors except in the Moluccas, and 
those of Banda. His country is very plenteous, with many 
warriors, and he is always fighting with Surabaya. They say 
that this son of Guste Pate is a knight and important person on 
account of his father, and greatly esteemed. He is married to the 
daughter of Pate Pijntor, lord of Blambangan, and he is also | 
married to the daughter of the great lord of Madura. He has Fol. 154V. 
many horsemen, and many lords of Java are with him. He has 
calaluzes on the sea. 

And with the help of his father-in-law he has prevented the 
Moors from passing beyond Surabaya for a longtime. His land has 
many foodstuffs; it is not a trading country. They all live in plenty 
on their crops, and they all have plenty of delights and pleasures. 

There must be ten thousand men in the land of Gamda. 

These three lands individually used to have pate lords, and Lands of 
very important lords of great authority. It must be about eight 
years since they had them, and another five since they were rukan, 
destroyed. Canjtam is joined to Ganda, and Canjtam to Pana- Pajar- 
rukan, and Panarukan to Pajarakan and Pajarakan to Blam- 
bangan. These pates made Pate Pular, lord of Canjtam, their 
chief; and they say that, because they worked to allow the lord 
of Surabaya to enter in, these three pates were killed and their 
lands taken by the lord of Blambangan. And now they have no 

^ Canjtam, or Camta and Canjtao, as spelt before. There is a place and a 
river Kraton, a few miles south-east of Kali Brantas, near Pasuruan, which 
might suggest Canjtam or Camta. As Pires says, all these places were situated 
at the mouths of rivers. 

Panarucam or Panuruca is Panarukan. It appears for the first time as 
panaruca on the map of c. 1 540. 

Pajarucam or Pajaruca corresponds to Pajarakan, a small place today, 
which the Eastern Archipelago Pilot — ii refers to as Tanjong Pajarakan, 
seventeen miles east of Probolonggo and thirty-four miles west of Panarukan. 

However, Pires erroneously placed Pajarucam after Panarucam. Padjarakan 
is the only place shown between Pasoeroean and Panaroekan, rightly situated 
on the eastern side of the bay, on a seventeenth century Schetskaart van 
Oost-Java en Madoera, contained in Mac Leod’s Atlas behoorende bij de 
Oost-Indische Compagnie, N° V. Pageruca on the map of c. 1 540. 

Land of 






pates and are under the jurisdiction of Blambangan; and they 
say that each of these three countries is almost as important as 
each one of those that have been described. As with Sidayu, the 
rivers are on the sea-coast. They are countries with many food- 
stuffs and they used to have a large population. 

The land of Blambangan is bounded on one side by the above 
countries of Canjtam, Panarukan, Pajarakan, and on the other 
side by Chamda} in the interior, and from there onwards it is all 
mountainous country until it reaches the land of the king of 
Java, which should in truth more properly be called [the lands] 
of Guste Pate. T)\&pate of Blambangan is called Pate Pimtor. He 
is a great gentile lord, a fearsome knight, and greatly respected 
in Java, especially by the heathen lords. He held all the Moors 
so that they could not proceed farther. His country has many 
inhabitants, and he also has a large number of small craft on the 
sea. There are no more pates after this one. The people are 
rustic, like [people] of the mountains, and they obey Guste Pate. 

This lord of Blambangan is so exalted, because he has both 
the lands of Canjtam and Panarukan, Pajarakan and the lands of 
Chande, that they all fear him greatly. He is the son of a sister 
of Guste Pate. This is a man who lives well on his crops. He has 
many horses in his lands; he alone has more than all the lords of 
Java, including Moors. The people of Blambangan are warlike. 
The land is rich. It is not necessary to speak of Chande because 
it is inland, and he has taken it. 

Many male and female slaves come from his lands to be sold 
in all Java. He has a multitude of them in his country. When 
their lords die they take their wives to the fire; thus they lose 
their bodies in this life and their souls burn in the next. And 
thus in Gamda, when a lord dies his wives kill themselves, or 
burn or drown in the sea, as I have already told. 

* Bulambuam corresponds to Blambangan, the south-easternmost point of 
Java. Balambuao or ballambuao in Dourado’s atlases. 

Chamda, Chandy or Chande, must correspond to Jamber or Djember, a 
town and district in Besuki province, the easternmost part of Java. This is 
perhaps what Couto called the ‘Kingdom of O Valle' (iv, iii, i), and Lavanha 
inscribed on his map as O VALE. It probably refers to the great valley be- 
tween the two mountains Hiyang, 10132 feet (3088 m) and Raung, 10932 
feet (3332 m), twenty-nine miles to the east. 

java 199 

T he great island of Java is finished, as well as I have been able 
to examine and investigate it, verifying my facts with many 
people; and whenever they seemed to me to agree thoroughly, 

I have written that down, and they certainly are not out of the 
right order ; and there is no doubt that there are more things in 
Java, and more important things, than are related, and thus up 
to now I had not heard tell how nobility, pride, determination 
and daring are in truth found in these parts; the Malays are 
haughty indeed, but their haughtiness was learned from the 
Javanese. Comparisons ought not to be made, because the 
Javanese are haughty and proud by nature, and the others by 
accident or art. And if this account is to speak honestly of the 
Javanese matrons, it is not a lie that they are so preposterous 
that they kill themselves with a kris if anything displeases them, 
and they sometimes kill their husbands; and it is a custom in 
Java for a woman to be searched before she goes to her husband, 
because they carry secret krises. This is the custom among the 

And that it may be known there is no greater pride than in Java, Fol i55r. 
there are two languages, one for the nobles and the other for the 
people. They do not differ as the language at court does with us; 
but the nobles have one name for things and the people another; 
this must certainly be the same for everything. 

Where but in Java is it customary for the women of good 
birth to have their pomp, their clothes, their golden crowns and 
diadems like the Javanese? When they go out they go in state 
looking like angels. There is no doubt that in the world there are 
[no more] presumptuous women, and for this reason many die 
virgins in their houses when they cannot gratify themselves by 
marrying great people. For where does this pride spring from, if 
it is not natural to the country? For when the women are so pre- 
sumptuous, what will be the case with the Javanese men, [so] 
prosperous and proud that neither a father nor a mother dare 
put a hand on their son’s head in a caress, nor a husband on his 
wife’s. A wife can count her husband as the king of the earth. 

And those of the pates who are along the sea-coast of Java and 
who do not yet feel so noble as those inland — because they were 
slaves and merchants a couple of days ago — are so proud that 



all of them are respected as if they were lords of the world. 
Each of them goes out hunting or pleasure- seeking in such 
exalted style. They spend all their time in pleasures, with 
retinues with so many lances in holders of gold and silver, as we 
should use iron, so richly inlaid, with so many harriers, grey- 
hounds and other dogs; and they have so many pictures painted 
with images and hunting scenes. Their cloths are adorned with 
gold, their krises, swords, knives, cutlasses are all inlaid with 
gold; [they have] numbers of concubines, genets, elephants, oxen 
to draw the wagons of gilt and painted woodwork. They go out 
in triumphal cars, and if they go by sea [they go] in painted 
calaluzes, so clean and ornamental, with so many canopies 
that the rowers are not seen by the lord; [there are] beautiful 
apartments for his women, other places for the nobles who 
accompany him, all certainly in accordance with his whim, [as] 
men who cherish their own importance greatly. 

[south-eastern islands] 

So that our account may proceed in order and without any 
interruptions, we will run on to Banda {Bamdam)\ and because 
it is our intention to speak of Banda as it is the [most im- 
portant] place among the islands between, their account will not 
be extensive but brief, as they are not so profitable, to wit, right 
next to Java are the islands of Bali {Baly) and of Lombok 
(Bombo), the island of Sumbawa {Cimbava), the island of ByrnUy 
the island of Sangeang {Foguo), and the islands of Solor (Soloro), 
Alor (Malua), Kambing (Lucucamby), Citor, Batojmbey, and 
many others that are in this chains 

' At the beginning of the sixteenth century there was some information 
about Sumatra, Java, the ‘Spice Islands’, and some other far-eastern places, 
through the relations of Marco Polo, who called at Sumatra at the end of the 
thirteenth century. Friar Odorico, who visited Sumatra, Java, and perhaps 
Borneo, a few years later, and some Arab travellers. But this information 
was scanty and vague; and still vaguer, if any at all, was that about the chain 
of islands which lie eastward of Java. Pires is the first to give definite news 
about these islands beyond Java; to some extent it is completed by Rodrigues’ 
maps and drawings. Barbosa, though writing a little later, is much less well- 
informed than Pires. After them come Pedro Reinel’s maps of c. 1517 and 
c. 1518, Jorge Reinel’s world map of 1519, Lopo Homem’s atlas of 1519, and 



The islands of Bali, and Lombok, and Sumbawa. The first 
island next to Java is Bali, and the other is Lombok and the 

Reinel s map of c. 1 524- Pigafetta’s Primo viaggio intorno al mondo has several 
drawings or maps of islands visited by Magellan’s expedition and other 
islands of which he obtained information. Almost all these drawings refer to 
the voyage after the expedition reached the Philippines until it left Timor, 
through the Eastern Archipelago, which gives the drawings special interest 
for us. Pigafetta’s original manuscript, written perhaps in 1524, is lost, but 
there are four copies extant dating from the first half of the sixteenth century; 
one in Italian, in the Ambrosiana, Milan; two in French, in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale, Paris, nos. 5650 and 24224; one in French, belonging to the 
Phillips Collection, Cheltenham. Then there is a gap in the sources of infor- 
mation, which again become available with the map of c. 1540, and later ones. 
But the disposition of these numerous islands, sometimes with very irregular 
coastlines, like that of north Sumbawa, and the imperfect knowledge that 
writers and cartographers had of them, all contributed to the great confusion 
in their description and mapping, so that several of them sometimes appear 
as a single one, one appears as two or more. To add to the confusion it 
happened that contemporary writers and cartographers used different names 
for the same place, according to their source of information, or spelt them 
differently; and transcribers of original writings, and cartographers repro- 
ducing earlier prototypes, often distorted the spelling given to native names, 
with the result that some of them became unrecognizable, or their origin 
extremely difficult to trace. This happened, for instance, with Pires and 

Baly, which is recorded on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 36) as Bllaram, appears 
as bancha on Reinel’s map of c. 1524, and later as bale on L. Homem’s map 
of 1554, and Balle in Dourado’s atlases. The Livro de Marinharia has Bam- 
cha and Vamcha, corresponding to Bali (p. 264). On the representation of all 
these islands in Rodrigues’ drawings, see Appendix II. 

Bombo corresponds to Lombok. It is likely that Pires wrote ‘lombo’ where 
the transcriber read bombo. Rodrigues has Lomboquo on his map, but no other 
early map records it. In the drawings he calls it amjane\ Galvao has Anjano; 
the rutter refers to it as Amjane. Reinel’s map of c. 1524 has amgeane. This 
name must correspond to the lofty Mount Rinjani (12350 feet or 3764 m.) 
which is the largest volcano in the whole archipelago, right in the middle of 
the northern part of the island. 

CiMBAVA, Byma and Ilha do Fogo — Pires refers to the island of Sumbawa 
as if it was two islands; Cimbava and Byma. It takes its name from the village 
of Sumbava, on the north coast of the western part of the island. Bima, on 
Bima Bay, is situate on the north coast of the eastern part. Rodrigues’ map 
has ssimbaua] Barbosa calls it jlaua menor (Java the Less) and Qindoaba (see 
Dames, ii, 194); L. Homem’s atlas of 1519 has also JAVA MINOR IN- 
SULA, which Denuce had already identified as Sumbawa (Les Origines, 
pp. 120, 134); on one of Eredia’s maps (fol. 28r.) the whole island is called 
bima. Among Rodrigues’ drawings there are three of the north coast of the 
island, all named Simbaua or Symbaua. Reinel’smap of c. 1524 bima, moio, 
and amajam-, L. Homem’s map of 1554 also has aram\ aramardin D. Homem’s 
atlas of 1558; arao arao in Dourado’s atlases. These last have also bima. 



Other Sumbawa. All these have kings. Each of them has many 
ports and many waters, many foodstuffs, many slaves, male and 
female. They are robbers; they have lancharas; they go plunder- 
ing; they are all heathen. They bring foodstuffs and cloths of 
their kind for merchandise, and many slaves and many horses 
which they take to Java to sell. 

P. Reinel’s maps of c. 1517 and c. 1518, and J. Reinel’s map of 1519 have 
ilha do fogo] the map of c. 1540 has ganuape\ L. Homem’s map of I5S4 arid 
D. Homem’s atlas of 1558 have guluape; in the rutter this island is called 
Gunapim, and it is accurately situated ‘more or less 12 leagues from Arrd arra\ 

SOLORO — Pires’ Soloro does not mean only the small island of today, or 
even the small group of Solor Islands, but the large island of Flores as well. 
The next of Rodrigues’ maps (fol. 37) shows part of a large island which is 
also called Solor, having at its eastern end Cabo das frolics. But fourteen of his 
drawings are named either Sollote or Solloro. The island that is depicted 
next to Sumbawa, on P. Reinel’s maps of c. 1517 and 1518, has cabo da 
frroresta, an obvious corruption of cabo de frolics', L. Homem’s atlas of 1519 
has CANDIN INS., the old Sandji of El Edrisi (Denuc^, op. cit., p. 120), 
corresponding to Flores; Reinel’s map of c. 1524 has c. dofcrro, Solor, and a 
cntrada dc solor (the strait); the map of c. 1540 has c. das fl., and eastwards 
y. dc solor', L. Homem’s map of 1554 has lucaragc (Nusa Raja) and c. do 
ferosil) in the middle of the island; Dourado’s atlases have dosferros, llusartaia 
(Nusa Raja), llusatarctc (Rusa Linguette), c: das f roles, all on Flores island, 
and south-eastwards, fairly accurately placed, osolor. All this shows once more 
how the cartographers, copying from map to map names they did not know, 
could disfigure them until they became almost unrecognizable and even 

Malua corresponds to Alor or Ombai island. The name still survives in 
‘Malua passage’, between Alor and Timor. It appears for the first time on 
Torreno’s map of 1522, as malua, and then on the anonymous map of c. 1523 
(in Turin), on Mercator’s globe of 1541, and on two maps of the Islario of 
Alonso de Santa Cruz (14 and loi, ed. Real Sociedad Geogrdfica, Madrid, 
1926), as a result of the information brought by the ship Vitoria of the 
Magellan expedition, which arrived in Spain in September 1522. Galvao 
called it Mauluoa. 

Lucucamby corresponds to Kambing island, northward of Timor, between 
Alor and Wetta. It appears as Nossocamba (Ambrosian MS) or Nossocabu 
(Paris MS 5650) on Pigafetta’s drawing of Timor, and as lucacambiu on one 
of Eredia’s maps (fol. 48V.). 

^ITOR — I was unable to discover, from this unrecognisable name, anything 
that might suggest what Pires meant for, or the transcriber disfigured as, 

Batojmbey may correspond to Wetta, Wetar or Wetter island, which on 
the map of c. 1540 appears as batubor, and as Batuombor (Ambrosian MS) or 
Batuambar (Paris MS 5650) on Pigafetta’s drawings. On other early maps it 
is inscribed as terra alta {terra lata on Reinel’s map of c. 1524). Batu means 
rock or stone in Java-Malay. 


The island of Bima, beyond these, is a large island belonging The 
to a heathen king. It has many paraos, and many foodstuffs in 
great plenty; it has meat, fish; it has many tamarinds; it has a 
great deal of brazil, which they take to Malacca to sell, and they ^ 
go there from Malacca for it because it sells well in China, and 
the Bima brazil is very thin. It is worth less in China than that 
from Siam, because that from Siam is thicker and better. Bima 
also has a large number of slaves and many horses which they 
take to Java. This island has trade. They are swarthy people 
with straight hair. This island has a number of villages, and also 
many people and many woods. People who are going to Banda 
and the Moluccas call here, and they buy many cloths here, 
which sell well in Banda and the Moluccas. This island has some 
gold. Javanese cashes are current there. 

Next to this island is the large island of Sangeang, very Fol. 155V, 
mountainous and peopled with many inhabitants. These people 
go about plundering. It has many ports and many foodstuffs and Mand of 
many slaves to sell. This island has a fair for robbers, who come Sangeang 
here to sell what they have stolen from the other islands. It has a Toguo). 
heathen king and they all all heathens. It is at the beginning of 
the road to Timor which will be dealt with after Solor. 

The island of Solor is very large. It has a heathen king. It has 
many ports and many foodstuffs in great plenty. It has countless 
tamarinds; it has a great deal of sulphur, and it is better known 
for this product than for any other. They take a large quantity 
of foodstuffs from this island to Malacca, and they take tamar- 
inds and sulphur. There is so much of this sulphur that they 
take it as merchandise from Malacca to Cochin China, because it 
is the chief merchandise that goes there from Malacca. Between 
this island of Solor and that of Bima is the channel of the Timor 

islands, where the sandalwoods are, which will be described next. 

The same merchandise is of value in the said islands as in Java. 

Between the islands of Bima and Solor there is a wide channel Islands of 

Timor ^ 
where the 

* By ‘Islands of Timor’ is meant the great Timor Island, and Sumba or sandal- 
Sandalwood Island, as it is still called. Rodrigues’ map (fol. 37) has Ajflha de wood 
timor homde nape 0 ssamdollo (The Island of Timor where the sandalwood comes 
grows). from. 

along which they go to the sandalwood islands. All the islands 



dise that 
is of value 
in Timor, 





from Java onwards are called Timor, for timor means ‘east in 
the language of the country, as if they were saying the islands of 
the east. As they are the most important, these two from which 
the sandalwood comes are called the islands of Timor. The 
islands of Timor have heathen kings. There is a great deal of 
white sandalwood in these two. It is very cheap because there is 
no other wood in the forests. The Malay merchants say that God 
made Timor for sandalwood and Banda for mace and the Moluc- 
cas for cloves, and that this merchandise is not known anywhere 
else in the world except in these places; and I asked and en- 
quired very diligently whether they had this merchandise any- 
where else and everyone said not. 

With a good wind you can sail from this channel to the islands 
of the Moluccas in six or seven days. These islands are un- 
healthy; the people are not very truthful. They go to these 
island[s] every year from Malacca and from Java, and the sandal- 
wood comes to Malacca. It sells well in Malacca, because it is 
used in all the nations here, more especially among the heathen. 

They take sinabaffs there, panchavilezes, sinhauas, balachos, 
cotobalachos, which are white cloths, coarse Cambay cloth, and 
[in return] for a little merchandise they load their junks with 
sandalwood. The voyage to Timor is remunerative, and un- 
healthy. They leave Malacca in the monsoon and on their way to 
Banda; they say that on this route there are reefs between the 
lands of Bima and Solor and that the junks are lost unless they 
go through the channel, and there is this risk for about half a 
league, and that it is good to enter by day. 

Opposite the islands of Solor is the island which is called 
Batu Tara. It is a heathen island with many foodstuffs. From it 
the route is straight ahead for Banda and for Amboina; and 

* Batutara — Batu Tara or Komba island (Lat. 7° 47' S., Long, 36' E.) 

lies some twenty-five miles northward of Lomblen, the largest island of the 
Solor group. Rodrigues’ map has Batutara. Ships going from Malacca to the 
Spice Islands followed the course Java — Batu Tara — Buru; thence either to 
Banda or to the Moluccas. So the course is described in the rutter in the 
Livro de Marinharia (p. 267). This is how Rodrigues came to record Batu- 
tara on his map, because he passed by there when he went to Banda with 
Antonio de Abreu in 1512. Hamy {op. cit., p. 175) identifies Rodrigues’ 
Batutara with Wetter or Wetta island, a mistake due perhaps to the fact that 
Galvao refers to Vitara, probably meaning Wetta, after Malua. 



because the other islands along by Solor are not much good for 
trade because they are out of reach, I do not deal with them. 
They are all lands of heathen robbers; they have foodstuffs, 
much rice, sago. I will now speak only of Banda, as we are so 
fond of the fruits of its soil. 


The islands of Banda are six; five produce mace and one has 
fire [a volcano]. The chief one is called Pulo Banda. This one 
has four ports; Celammon {Calamom), Olutatam, Lontar {Bom- 
tar), Komber {Comber). In comparison with the others this 

* Rodrigues’ map (fol. 37) has a group of seven or eight small islands of 
different sizes with the inscription — Jlhas de bamda Homde Nafem as mafes 
(Islands of Banda where the maces grow). P. Kernel’s maps of c. 1517 and 
c. 1518 have ‘Islands of babay, here are the maces’, babay being a miswriting 
for bada\ L. Homem’s map of 1512 has de bamda\ Torreno’s map of 1522 
has Y°‘s de bandam-, Reinel’s map of c. 1524 has banda-, most of the later maps 
have either Banda or Bandam. 

The island de foguo (fire, referring to the volcano) is Gunong Api. 

PuLLO Bamdam is Lontar or Great Banda Island. Of this island’s four ports 
mentioned by Pires, Calamom corresponds to Selamo or Celammon, which 
lies on the west side of the island’s north point; it may be Pigafetta’s Zoroboa, 
the name he gave to the largest island in his drawing of Bandan archipelago. 
Olutatam, which Barros calls Lutatam (ill, v, 6) giving it as the main port, 
may correspond to a place called Ortata or Gt. Waling, on the north side of 
the island, opposite Neira. Bomtar (perhaps a transcriber’s mistake, in which 
he mistook the I for b, as in the case of bombo or Lombok), corresponds to 
Lontar, which gives its name to the island and lies on the north side, 
opposite Gunong Api. Comber is Komber, between Ortata and Selano. 

Pulo aee is Ai or Aij Island, which lies westward of Lontar. It is called 
Pulae by Pigafetta and Ay by Barros. 

Pulo Rud is Run, the westernmost island of the group. It is called 
Pulurun by Pigafetta and Rom by Barros, and it appears as P. rond on 
Berthelot’s map of 1635. This map is the first to give a fairly complete repre- 
sentation of the Banda group. Besides Banda and P. rond, it shows P- caPas, 
or Kapal Island, which lies north-westward of the north point of Lontar, 
and P. Soangin, or Suangi Island, thirteen miles north-west of Gunong Api. 
Ai, Gunong Api and Rozengain (this last too near to Lontar) are also repre- 
sented, but without names. 

Pulo bomcagy, possibly a transcriber’s mistake, must correspond to 
Rozengain, which Pigafetta calls Rosoghin, and Galvao and Barros call 
Rosolanguim-, it lies five miles east-south-east of Lontar. 

Lanacaqe must correspond to Nailaka islet, which lies close to the north 
coast of Run Island. Pigafetta calls it Lailaca. 





2o6 tome fires 

island has a greater quantity of mace. These [islands] have 
villages; they have no king; they are ruled by cabilas and by the 
Fol. J56r. elders. | Those along the sea-coast are Moorish merchants. It is 
thirty years since they began to be Moors in the Banda islands. 
There are a few heathen inside the country. In all there must be 
between two thousand five hundred and three thousand persons 
in these islands. The mace is a fruit like peaches or apricots, and 
when it is ripe it opens and the outer pulp falls, and that in the 
inside turns red, and this is the mace on the nutmeg, and they 
gather them and put them to dry. This fruit is ripe all through 
the year; it is gathered every month. About five hundred bahars 
of mace must be produced every year in the islands as a whole, 
or even six hundred; and there must be six or seven thousand 
bahars of nutmeg, and that every year, sometimes more, some- 
times less. It is not always of one kind, and they say that these 
islands used to produce a thousand bahars of mace. This island 
alone which is called Banda is larger than all the others put 
together. Another island is called Neira. This is a port where the 
Javanese anchor; it is called Port Neira. It produces mace. And 
the other three islands, to wit, Pulo Ai (Aee) and Pulo Run (Rud) 
and Pulo Bomcagy, are three small islands which produce mace. 
They have no ports in which you can anchor. They bring their 
mace to the island of Banda. All are in sight of and near to one 
another. I do not speak of the island [of Fogoy because it does 
not trade, nor of another small island called Nailaka (Lanacaqe) 
which produces sago. 

The people of these islands have straight black hair. They are 
richer now than they used to be, because now they sell their 
mace better and for better prices. Formerly the Javanese and 
Malays used to sail to these islands every year bringing a little 
cloth, calling at Java. They sold there the most and best of their 
cloths for cashes and for other low-class things, and went from 
there to Sumbawa and to Bima, and they sold the merchandise 
they brought from Java in these two islands. They used to make 
a profit both on what they sold in Java and on what they took 
from Java to the said islands of Bima and Sumbawa; and in the 

' This island is Gunong Api; the word fogo is obviously omitted in 
the MS. 



islands they used to buy cloth that sold well in Banda, and in 
exchange for it and for Java cashes they used to buy mace; and as 
soon as the junk reached Banda they used to take command of 
the country, and bought as they wished as long as they stayed 
there; and when the people of Banda had good cloth in their 
hands it was a great novelty to them, and they used to fix a price 
for the people of the country, and the captains of the junk were 
adored by the people. 

Now, since these islands of Banda have been visited by the 
ships and have come under the jurisdiction of the King our lord, 
it is not done like this, but the people of Banda can obtain 
the rich cloth in great quantities and at small prices, always 
receiving favours and gifts and good companionship from the 
Portuguese, who go there to buy for gold and rich things that 
which the Moors buy for straw, and they are still discontented 
with our companies. 

SinabaflPs of all kinds and every other kind of fine white cloth Merchan- 
from Bengal; all the cloths from Bonuaquelim, to wit, enrolados 
of large, medium and small ladrilho, topetins and cloth of all 
kinds from Gujarat, so that the people of Banda must be called 
fortunate, and it is not without cause that the kings of the 
Moluccas, who know about the things of Banda, sigh for us, as 
■will be told when the noble islands are described. And the 
merchants who used to sail there used to buy for old pots and 
trinkets and beads from Cambay and other things like that, so 
that there is no doubt that Banda is wealthier now. Banda also 
has cloves which come in loads from the Moluccas to Amboina 
and from Amboina to Banda, this in twelve or fifteen days with 
the monsoon. A bahar of cloves is worth the same as a bahar of 
mace, and one of mace the same as seven of nutmeg, and they 
will not sell you mace and nutmeg except together, that is, if you 
want a bahar of mace you have to buy seven bahars of nutmeg, 
because otherwise the merchandise could not stand it, because 
the nutmeg would be lost if they did not sell it in this way. ] The Fol. 156V. 
chief merchandise for Banda is the Gujarat cloth, to wit, red and 
black bretangis, cafutos, white and black maindts, corafones cloth, 
patolas, and after these [there is] cloth from Bengal and after 
Bengal from Bonuaquelin, from Gujarat, lamedares, many 



sabones^. When the account is made up, each bahar of mace costs 
three cruzados or three and a half, according to the goods for 
which you buy, and there are some for which it costs four; as for 
cloth, the finer it is the more you have to pay, because their 
idea is [to have] coarse clothing for the people, and because 
people come to Banda from a great many outside islands to buy 
Banda cloth, from Gillolo {Bato YmboY to Papua^, from 
Papua to the Moluccas, and many other islands. They buy in 
Banda according to the weight of the Malacca bahar; whoever 
goes there takes the scales and weighs freely in Banda. Banda has 
ivory tusks and gold, which are brought from other islands to be 

The islands of Banda have hardly any foodstuffs. The sur- 
rounding islands bring foodstuffs to sell there, and the junks 
that go there take rice from Bima and things to eat. Sago is used 
for money in the country. Sago is bread, the same shape as a 
brick; it is made of the pith of a tree and baked very hard. They 

” Maindis and panos de coRAgoNES. It is not clear whether ‘white and 
black maindis’ (the meaning of which I cannot find) are the same as panos de 
cor af ones, or whether they are two different kinds of cloth. Again, panos de 
corafones may mean ‘cloths from Khorasan’ or ‘cloths with hearts’ (painted 
or embroidered). Patola was a silk cloth, sometimes embroidered or mixed 
with cotton. When referring to the ‘Isles of Bandam’, Barbosa mentions 
‘Patolas (that is to say Cambaya cloths)’, ii, 198. Sabones may mean soaps. 
Or is it perhaps the name of some other cloth? The whole sentence is very 
confused indeed. 

* Bato Ymbo may correspond to Batochina, the old Portuguese name for 
the southern peninsula or the whole of Gillolo Island or Halmaheira. One 
of the highest mountains in Gillolo is Mount Ibu (4528 feet or 1260 m), 
whence flows the Ibu River. Batu means rock or stone in Malay. 

3 Rodrigues’ map has to the north of Ceram a large island, the situation 
of which suggests Gillolo, with the inscription — Jlha depapoia eajente della 
sam cafres (Island of Papua and its people are Cafres). The map of c. 1 540 has 
as jlhas papuas to the east of Gillolo; Dourado’s atlases have the north coast 
of a large land denominated Costa dos papuas (c. 1573), or simply OS 
PAPVAS (1580), close to the coast of Gillolo, which corresponds to the 
north-east coast of New Guinea; in Luis’ atlas of 1563, prior to Dourado, the 
same coast is already called noua guinea. The Malay word papuwah stands for 
‘frizzle-haired’, i.e. the cafres mentioned by Rodrigues. It is likely that Pires, 
as well as Rodrigues, refers to the north-west part of New Guinea, though 
the information they had of the islands westward of Banda and the Moluccas 
was incomplete and rather confused. Later on, in his description of the island 
of Batochina (Gillolo), Pires refers to ‘the island of Papua, which is about 
eighty leagues from Banda’. 


Rodrigues’ map (fol. 36) showing the East and North Coast of 
Borneo, eastern end of Java, Madura, Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa 

(pp. 522-3) 



bring a great deal from the islands near to the islands of Banda 
and It IS used for money— so much sago for such and such a 
thing m the same way as pepper in Base. Banda has some large 
islands two or three days’ journey away, from which they obtain 

supplies. They belong to heathens, all of them agricultural 

Three islands are near Banda. The nore^ parrots come from 
the island of Papua. Those which are prized more than any 
others come from the islands called Am {Daru)\ birds which 
they bring over dead, called birds of paradise {passavos de Deus), 
they say they come from heaven, and that they do not know 
how they are bred; and the Turks and Persians use them for 
making panaches— they are very suitable for this purpose. The 
Bengalees buy them. They are good merchandise, and only a 
few come. 

Two days’ sail away, or less, is the end of the large island of [Ceram} 
Ceram {CeirdY\ this is leaving out Amboina {Amhom\ because 
Amboina is almost up against the islands of Ceram. The islands 
of Ceram begin at the island of Goram {Guramy and almost 
touch the Moluccas; and the island is narrow and can be navi- 
gated on the inside along by Amboina as well as on the outside, 
and so it has ports on both sides, and villages inland. The ports 
of Gule Gule, Bemuaor, Cejlam, and others are on the way to 

* Nore or lory, from the Malay nuri, ‘a name given to various brilliant- 
coloured varieties of parrots which are found in the Moluccas and other 
islands of the Archipelago’. Hobson-jfobson, s.v. Lory; Dalgado, s.v. Nore. 
Rodrigues’ map has written I dos papagaios (Island of the Parrots) between 
Buro and Ambom. 

* Pires’ ilhas Daru corresponds to ilhas de Aru, the islands of Aru. The map 
of c. 1 540 is the first to record aru; it appears again in Dourado’s atlases. 

3 Ceram or Serang. Rodrigues shows on his map a large island on which 
are written the names ambom and gullegulle; between this island and certain 
small islands to the east is written geiram tern houro (Ceram has gold). No 
doubt this last inscription refers to Ceram, because Gule Gule is situated 
there. L. Homem’s atlas of 1519 has a more correctly shaped SEILAM. 
INSULA. Reinel’s map of c. 1524 has ceilam, indicating a small island 
east-north-east of Ceram; the map of c. 1540 has J. de cajlom. But in 
D. Homem’s atlas of 1568 the island has written across it batackina de 

* Goram or Gorong lies south-east of Ceram. It actually gives its name to a 
group of three small islands — Goram, Panjang and Manawoka. 


H.C.S. I. 



Banda, and behind are Tana Muar, Uli {Olu), Varam}\ and they 
say that the navigation behind is very safe. To sum up, the 
Amboina islands are these: Amboina, Hitu, Haruku {Ytaqoay), 
Honimoa, Nusa Laut {Vulmifolao). If in what I say of these 
islands, together with Banda, I disagree with the pilots, it is not 
my fault, because in this I am relying on people who have been 

' Gule Gule — After Rodrigues’ map had recorded gullegulle, the port that 
he visited with Abreu in 1512, almost every Portuguese map up to the seven- 
teenth century shows that name, properly situated at the south-east end of 
Ceram. There still exists a place Gule Gule, or Goele Goele, on the south 
side of the south-eastern extremity of Ceram. Gule Gule lies at the south- 
west corner of a lagoon which separates the south-east point of Ceram from 
the mainland. Hamy situates Gule Gule at Piru bay, on the south-west coast 
of Ceram, ‘au fond de la bale de Tarouno, ou la riviere Kolli-Kolli porte 
encore le nom que le commandant portugais attribue ^ son mouillage (Guli- 
Guli)’. Op. cit., p. 167. Though there is a small stream called Kole Kole on 
the east side of Piru bay, the name Gule Gule still survives where all the early 
Portuguese maps rightly placed it — at the south-eastern extremity of the 

Bemuaor — It seems as if Pires’ description is following the south coast of 
Ceram, from east to west. Bemuaor may correspond to Bemu, an anchorage 
near the mouth of a river — Wai Bobot — at the eastern side of the large Teluti 
bay, about the middle of the south coast of Ceram. The last part of the word 
muaor may be related to muar, which means ‘mouth of a river’ in Malay. 

Cejlam — At the end of Elpaputi bay, on the south coast of Ceram, one of 
the principal places is Paulohi or Poeleh; on some Dutch maps of Ceram it 
is also called Sahoelaoe or Sahoelaoe Lama, the pronunciation of which is not 
far from the Portuguese Cejlam. It is curious to note that the whole island of 
Ceram is called Seilam in L. Homem’s atlas of 1519, and I. de cajlom on the 
map of c. 1540. Reinel’s map of c. 1524 has a small island called ceilam off the 
north-east end of Ceram; Dourado’s atlases have the same small island under 
the names of cailam, cailao or caillao. 

Tana — ^There is a good anchorage in front of Tanah Gojang village, in 
Piru bay. However, there is also Tanjong Tanduru or Tananurong, the 
north-west corner of the island, which might suggest Pires’ Tana or even 
Tana Muar. 

Muar — Galvao says that after Burn and Amboina the ships of Abreu 
‘coasted along that [island] which is called Muar Damboino, and anchored in 
a haven called Guli Guli’. I was unable to establish any connexion between 
Pires’ Muar and Galvao’s Muar Damboino, which seems to refer to Ceram, 
though some connexion certainly exists between the two. 

Olu — There is a village, river and cape called Uli on the north coast of 

Varam — This may correspond to a place called Wairama, at Hatiling bay, 
close to the port of Wahai, the most important on the north coast of Ceram. 
It is possible that the word was originally written Uaram, the v of Varam 
standing for a u. 



there; I have learnt this from Moors, from their charts, which I 
have seen many times, and if their charts are not to be trusted, 
let it be clear that this should be for reading and not for 

The people of Banda are cunning enough to have a village in 
the mountains where they foregather when they feel they are in 
any danger in the villages along the sea coast, and they collect 
everything up there in the mountains; and Banda is something 
so small and weak that it is at the mercy of any junk that goes 
there, whether it be Javanese of Malayan. And after that there is 
nothing more to be said of Banda. I have decided to pass on to 
the Moluccas, where our aims are paramount, by way of 

Amboina is one island and next to it are Hitu ( Yta), Haruku Islands of 

{Cuaij), Honimoa (VulT), Nusa Laut (NucalaoY, and they are ^”**°*”^ 


' Ambon, or Amboina, is represented together with Ceram as a single 
island on Rodrigues’ map. Albuquerque says in his letter of 20 Aug. 1512 
that the ships of Abreu’s expedition might go ‘to be overhauled (espalmar) 
at a cape called ambam, on a large island which lies four days’ sail from the 
Clove Islands’ {Cartas, i, 68); in the Comentdrios (iii, xxxvii) Amboino is 
substituted for ambam. L. Homem’s atlas of 1519 has ambonyo, well separated 
from Ceram, though south-westward of buyo or Buru (also called Buyo, in 
Livro de Marinharia, some old written forms of r being easily mistaken for 
a y)\ Torreno’s map of 1522 has ambuon south-west oigelolo, between buiro 
and Y‘^S de bandam\ Reinel’s map of c. 1524 has anboinafl) on the western 
part of Ceram; the map of c. 1540 has an island close to the south-west of 
Ceram, corresponding to the Amboina group, but J. danobueno is written 
over Ceram; later maps usually have amboino. The Dutch still call the Am- 
boina island Ambon. 

Yta — Although, above, this word was coupled with the next, so as to form 
Ytaqoay, the two words are here distinctly separated as Yta and cuaij. Yta 
must correspond to Ito or Hitu, perhaps reported to Pires as a distinct island 
from Amboina, which consists practically of two islands of unequal size lying 
parallel to each other, united at one point by a low sandy isthmus less than a 
mile in width. The northern, and larger, peninsula is called Hitu. Amboina 
road is in the southern peninsula, which forms with the southern coast of the 
northern peninsula, west of the isthmus, the large and deep Amboina bay. 

Guerreiro (1601) refers to the port, town and island of Ito, as distinct from 
Amboino, where the Portuguese had the main settlement and fort. The other 
islands of the group, which he mentions, are Oma, (Haruku) Oliacer (Saparua 
or Honimoa), and Rossalau (Nussa Laut). RelafSo Anual, ii, 2, xvi, xvii. 
Berthelot’s map of 1635 has hito, written on the north coast of Amboena. 

According to Crawfurd {Dictionary) the natives call the island Hitu, the 
usual name being derived from that of its chief town — ‘ Ambun’. 


H.C.S. I. 



all nearly up against the coast of Ceram, The people of the island 
are woolly-haired, bestial; they have no merchandise and they 
have not a very good port; they have no trade. It is a place of 
Fol. i57r. dangerous people. Those who want to pass on | to the Moluccas 
stay there, as is known. They could pass if they wanted to, but 
because the Moors have no metal anchors and are not seamen, 
but leave everything at the slightest danger and go swimming 
away, they do not do their navigation as they should. It always 
took two or three years from Malacca to Banda and the Moluc- 
cas, and many junks are lost; and it is not surprising, because the 
Moors from these parts know nothing at all [of seamanship], and 
the mariners are slaves, and it is all the same to them whether 
they are in Java or the Moluccas, so they have no need to hurry, 
and consequently make their journeys long. I now pass on to 
the Moluccas to which Amboina is subject. 


We have reached the Molucca {Maluqo) islands,^ because it is 
not our intention to go farther on from here, as there is no need 

CuAij — This may correspond to Oma or Haruku island, the next to the 
east of Amboina, from which it is separated by Haruku strait. On the western 
part of the south coast of Haruku there is the village of Oma, eastward of which 
is another place and cape called Waisoi or Wasai. 

VuLL — As in the case of Ytaqoay, the transcriber had previously written 
vullmjfalao as one word; but here the two words are well separated. Vull must 
be Oliacer, Saparua or Honimoa island, the third of the large islands in the 
Amboina group, lying eastward of Haruku and very close to it. This corre- 
sponds perhaps to the nucilloell which appears in Dourado’s atlases, south- 
east of amhoino, and is mentioned by Castanheda as Nunciuel (vni, cc). It is 
possible that this is meant for ‘Nusa Uel’. 

Nucalao — Nusa Laut, the easternmost island of the Amboina group, 
lying south-east of Saparua and very close to it. It may be the allad or allam 
seen in Dourado’s atlases, next to nucilloell. So the relative positions of Am- 
boina, Haruku, Saparua and Nusa Laut follow the order in which Fires 
mentions the four names. 

* Francisco Serrao, the captain of one of the ships in Abreu’s expedition to 
the Spice Islands, was the first European to visit the Moluccas, where he 
arrived in 1512, living there probably until the beginning of 1521, when he 
died. Abreu’s fleet arrived back in Malacca in December 1512, and Rodri- 
gues left for India at the beginning of January 1513, before he could know 
of the first information sent by Serrao from T ernate, which reached Malacca 
in the middle of 1513. This is why the Moluccas on Rodrigues’ map (fol. 37) 



for this, but just the clove islands, and from there I will turn 
back home. 

The Molucca islands which produce cloves are five, to wit, 
the chief one is called Ternate and another Tidore and another 
Motir {Motes) and another Makyan {Maqujem) and another 
Bachian {Pacham). And there is also a great deal of wild cloves 
in the port of Gillolo (Jetlolo) in the land of the island of Gillolo 
{Batochina). According to what they say, Mohammedanism in 
the Molucca islands began fifty years ago. The kings of the 
islands are Mohammedans, but not very deeply involved in the 
sect. Many are Mohammedans without being circumcised, and 
there are not many Mohammedans. The heathen are three parts 
and more out of four. The people of these islands are dark- 
skinned; they have sleek hair. They are at war with one another 
most of the time. They are almost all related. 

These five islands must produce about six thousand bahars of 
cloves a year — sometimes a thousand more, or a thousand less. 
It is true that merchandise bought in Malacca for five hundred 
reis will buy a bahar of cloves in the Moluccas. The bahar is 
by Malacca weight, because they weigh it in accordance with 
that, and the merchants take the scales, as it is sometimes worth 
more, sometimes less, just a little. There are six crops of 

have only the inscription — estas quatro Jlhas Azues ssam as de malluquo homde 
nage ho cram (these four islands [painted in] blue are those of Maluco, where 
the clove grows). P. Kernel’s map of c. 1517 and that of c. 1518 have ‘islands of 
Maluco where there is the clove’; L. Homem’s atlas of 1519 has MALVC^. 
INSVLE; J. Kernel’s map of c. 1519 has ‘islands of Maluco from where the 
clove comes’. Torreno’s map of 1522, and the planisphere of c. 1523 (Turin), 
both drawn in Spain after the arrival of the Vitoria, the only surviving ship of 
Magellan’s expedition, which had passed through the Moluccas in 1521, are 
the first to record the individual names of the islands. Torreno’s map has 
terranati, tidorj, maqujan, bachia, and INSVLA DE GELOLO] the planis- 
phere has tarenate, tedore aqui cargaro (Tidore, here they loaded), motil, 
maq . . ., gilolo\ Pigafetta’s manuscript has Tarenate, Tadore, Mutir, Machiam 
or Machian, Backiam or Bachian, and Giailonlo, Gtailolo, Giaiallo oxlaialolo. 
The first known Portuguese map to give the names of the islands is that of 
c. 1540, which has ternate, montell, maquiam, bacham. Varthema describes 
the voyage he says he made to ‘the island of Monoch where the cloves grow', 
and refers to ‘many other neighbouring islands . . . uninhabitated’; but the 
famous Bolognese was never there. Barbosa mentions Pachel [Pachan or 
Bachiam), Moteu, Machiam, Tidor and Tanarte. Pires is, however, the first 
to give a proper description of the Moluccas, and Kodrigues the first to 
represent them on a map, though neither was ever actually there. 

tom 6 fires 


island of 
our friend. 


cloves every year. Eight junks used at one time to go from 
Malacca to Banda and the Moluccas, and three or four [of 
them were] from Grisee, and as many more from Malacca. The 
ones from Malacca belonged to Curia Deva^, a Chetti merchant, 
and those from Grisee to Pate Cufuf who had the trade 
there; and there were other merchants as well, both Javanese 
and Malay, but these two were the chief merchants; each of 
them has made a large sum of gold in this trade. Cloves were 
always worth nine or ten cruzados a bahar in Malacca when 
they were plentiful, and twelve cruzados a bahar when they 
were scarce. 

The chief island of all the five is the island of Ternate. The 
king is a Mohammedan. He is called Sultan Bern Acorala?-. They 
say he is a good man. His island produces at least a hundred and 
fifty bahars of cloves every year. Two or three ships can anchor 
in the port of this island; this is a good village. This king has 
some foreign merchants in his country. They say that the island 
must contain up to two thousand men, and up to two hundred 
will be Mohammedans. This king is powerful among his 
neighbours. His country is abundant in foodstuffs from the land, 
although many foodstuffs come to the Molucca kings from 
other islands, as will be told later. Only the king of Ternate is 
called Sultan; the others are called Raja. He is at war with his 
father-in-law, Baja Almanfor^, king of the island of Tidore. He 
has as many as a hundred paraos. The island must be six leagues 
round. There is a mountain in the middle of this island, which 
yields a great deal of sulphur, which burns in great quantities'^. 
This king has half the island of Motir (Motei) for his own, 

* According to Barros (ii, ix, 4) this Curia Deva was an enemy of the 
Portuguese and helped and incited Pate Quedir and Pate Unus against them. 

* Barbosa calls him Soltam Binaracola, and Pigafetta raya Abuleis. How- 
ever, Barros says that ‘the name of this king of Temate (who helped Serrao) 
was Cachil Boleise, a man of great age and much prudence, whom the Moors 
held almost for a prophet in what he said’, (in, v, 6). 

3 Barros (in, viii, 9-10) refers extensively to Almanfor, king of Tidore, and 
his quarrels with the Portuguese. Pigafetta calls him raia sultan Manzor. 

* Actually Temate island, eight miles long from north to south, and six 
miles broad, is composed almost exclusively of a conical volcano, 5184 feet 
( 1 580 m) in height, which has been in a state of constant activity for more than 
300 years. 



whence he gets many foodstuffs. [The people of] Ternate are 
more tractable than those in any of the other [islands], although 
another has a better port, and more trade because of it. They say 
that this king dispenses justice. He keeps his people obedient. 

He says he would be glad to see Christian priests, because if our 
faith seemed to him good he would forsake his sect and turn 

This king of Ternate, being a man of good judgement, when Fol 157V. 
he heard that Francisco Serrao was in Amboina, sent for him 
and for other Portuguese who were wrecked in the voyage of 
Antonio de Abreu, and received them in his country and did 
them honour; and the said king wrote letters to Malacca saying 
how he and his lands were the slaves of the King our lord, as 
will be seen at greater length in his letters, which were brought 
by Antonio de Miranda who went to Banda and sent to Amboina 
whither the letters had arrived, having been brought by Fran- 
cisco Serrao, who returned to Ternate, because that was the 

The people of Ternate are knights among those of the Moluc- 
cas. They are men who drink wines of their kind. Ternate has 
good water. It is a healthy country with good air. The king of 
Ternate has four hundred women within his doors, all daughters 
of men of standing; he has many daughters by them. When the 
king goes to war he rallies forth with a crown of gold, and his 
sons wear them also as a mark of dignity. These crowns are of 
moderate value. 

The country produces cloves. A great deal of iron comes from Merchan- 
dise there 

* Barros says that in 1513 ‘Antdnio de Miranda went with a fleet to the isin 
Islands of the Moluccas and Banda’, (iii, v, 6). Patalim, who was then Captain Ternate. 
of Malacca, also says in his evidence in the so-called ‘Process of the Moluccas’ 
of 1524, that he sent ‘Miranda with three ships, which went to Banda, and 
from there to the Moluccas, where they found Serrao’. Cartas, iv, 167. 

Amboina was then considered part of the southern Moluccas, which may 
explain the rather confusing information given by Barros and Patalim. How- 
ever Pires, who was writing in Malacca shortly after the return of Miranda, is 
more precise. His information is confirmed by the very detailed and accurate 
evidence given in the same ‘Process of the Moluccas’ by Brandao, who 
declares that Miranda had not gone farther than Banda. Ibidem, p. 170. Next 
year, 1514, Miranda went again to Banda, but only in 1515 did two junks 
under the command of Alvaro Coelho reach Ternate, returning to Malacca 
laden with cloves. 



dise of 
value in 




outside, from the islands of Banggai {Bemgaiay, iron axes, 
choppers, swords, knives. Gold comes from other islands. It has 
some little ivory; it has coarse native cloth. A great many parrots 
come from the islands of Morotai (MorY, and the white parrots 
come from Ceram. 

Coarse cloth from Cambay is of value in the Moluccas; and 
for the finer sort, all the enrolado cloth from Bonuaqueliin, with 
large, medium or small ladrilho, patolas, all the coarse and white 
cloth, as for instance, synhauas, balachos, panchavelizes, coto- 
halachos’, but the principal merchandise is cloth from Cambay 
and the tails of white oxen and cows which they bring from 

Cloves have six crops a year; others say that there are cloves 
all the year round, but that at six periods in the year there are 
more. After flowering it turns green and then it turns red; then 
they gather it, some by hand and some beaten down with a pole, 
and red as it is they spread it out on mats to dry, and it turns 
black. They are small trees. Cloves grow like myrtle berries, a 
great many heads grow together. All this fruit is in the hands of 
the natives, and it all comes through their hands to the sea- 

Although this island of Ternate is the most distant of all from 
Amboina, and the next in order ought to be the nearest to 
Amboina, which is Bachian {Pachdo), yet as Ternate is the best, 
it has been described first, and also because the king is a vassal 
of the King our lord; and now I will go towards Amboina, 
describing the islands. 

* Banggai Island is one of the more important in the Banggai archipelago, 
which lies 300 miles south-west of Ternate, off Banggai peninsula, on the 
east coast of central Celebes. Barbosa says; ‘Not very far off from these 
islands (the Moluccas), to the west-south-west, at thirty leagues away, there 
is another inhabited . . . island called Tendaya (or Bangaya, in the Spanish 
version). Much iron is found there which is taken to divers countries’. Dames 
thought that ‘it is undoubtedly the island of Banggi which lies off the 
northernmost point of Borneo’, (ii, 205). On Berthelot’s map of 1635, Bang- 
gai island is correctly situated but called Pangara. 

2 Morotai or Morti island lies thirteen miles east of the north-eastern point 
of Gillolo, with the small Rau island and some islets close by. When later 
describing the island of Batochina, or Gillolo, Fires asserts that the ‘islands of 
Mor’ limit Gillolo on the north. Berthelot’s map has morotay correctly 



After leaving Ternate for Amboina [and] sailing three leagues, Island of 
you see the island of Tidore. It is an island which is about ten 
leagues round. The king of this island is a Mohammedan, an 
enemy of the king of Ternate and his father-in-law. This king 
has about two thousand men in his country, about two hundred 
of whom are Mohammedans and the others are heathens. The 
king is called Raja Almangor. He has many wives and children. 

His country produces about one thousand four hundred bahars 
of cloves a year. There is no port in this island where ships can 
anchor. He is as powerful a king as the king of Ternate. He is 
always at war. These two are the most important in the Moluc- 
cas, and they compute that this king must have eighty paraos in 
his country. This king has the king of Makyan {Maqiem) for his 

Half the island of Motir is also subject to this king. His 
country produces many foodstuffs: rice, meat, fish. They say he 
is a man of good judgement. This king is very desirous of trad- 
ing with us, because the Moluccas Islands are going to ruin, and 
for the last three years they have only gathered a few cloves, 
because of the drop in navigation since the capture of Malacca. 

Six leagues sail from this island of Tidore is the island of Fol. is8r. 

Motir. This island is about four or five leagues round. It has a 
mountain in the middle. Half the island obeys the king of Ter- 

Island of 

nate and the other half the king of Tidore; each of them has (Motei). 

stationed his captain in his own land. This island is entirely 

heathen; it has about six hundred men. This island produces 

about one thousand two hundred bahars of cloves a year; each 

captain will have four or five small lancharas. This island pro- 
duces many foodstuffs, and each part supports its own lord. 
The captains of these islands are heathens, knightly men. 

important people, and they are friends. 

Both the king of Tidore and this island of Motir bring their 
cloves in paraos to the island of Makyan to be sold, because the 
port where the junks come and anchor is there. 

Five leagues away from the island of Motir, the island oilslai^of 
Makyan appears. This island of Makyan is eight or nine leagues 
round; it has about three thousand men; it has a hundred and em). 
thirty paraos. It produces about one thousand five hundred 


tom:6 pires 

Islands of 

bahars of cloves a year. The king is called Raja Ucem. He is a 
Mohammedan, and [so are] about three hundred men in his 
country. This island of Makyan has a very good port. This is the 
island where the junks load, and they bring the cloves to be sold 
here from all the islands, with the exception of Ternate, whither 
[some people] also go because of the port where they can 
anchor. The king has almost as many foodstuffs as the others, 
and he has more people and paraos than Tidore. 

The Raja Ucem, king of this island of Makyan, is a first cousin 
of the Raja Almangor, king of Tidore, and this king is to some 
extent subject to the said king of Tidore. There are a few 
foreigners in this port, and they greatly long for peace with us. 
They say that he is a good man, and this is a land with more 
trade than the others, and thus the junks come and anchor here. 
The port is safe and good. Almost all the people are heathens. 
They come to this island with merchandise from many islands. 
They have an abundance of foodstuffs and good water, and they 
say that the people on the sea-coast are tractable. 

From this island of Makyan which I have described, it is 
almost fourteen leagues to the islands of Bachian. These islands 
of Bachian are ten or twelve. The island called Bachian produces 
cloves, the others do not. The king of this island is called Raja 
Cufuf. He has more land and more people than any of the kings 
of the Moluccas, and more paraos. This king is a half-brother of 
the king of Ternate; they are great friends. Almost all the people 
are heathens. They have good ports. Those who have to load 
cargoes in the Moluccas come here to sight this land, and they go 
from here to other islands. Bachian is a chain of islands which 
goes up to Ceram opposite Amboina. This island produces about 
five hundred bahars of cloves every year. It produces a great 
deal of pitch; it does not produce many foodstuffs, but they 

” Bachian Island is the largest and southernmost of the five true Moluccas. 
There are many islands near Bachian, the largest of which are Great Tawali 
or Kasiruta, and Mandioli near the western part; about fifteen miles north- 
wards lie the Ombi islands, eighty miles north of the north-western part of 
Ceram. It seems that Bachian was first known to the Portuguese as Pacham. 
Besides Pires’ reference, there is at least another contemporary document — 
the evidence of Bartolomeu Gonsalves in the ‘Process of the Moluccas’ — 
where the island is several times called Pacham. Cartas, iv, 163-4. Barbosa’s 
Packet is certainly related to Pacham. 



bring plenty of them from the other islands. They do a great 
deal of trade in their land. This island has parrots, mats and 
other things which people come there to buy. 

According to information I obtained, it is a very short time 
since the cloves in this island were wild — in the same way as 
wild plums become cultivated plums and wild olives become 
cultivated olives and they say that originally these cloves were 
not made use of, because the trees were covered up in wild 
places, and that during the last ten years the cloves have been 
made as good as any of the others, and that the cloves in this 
island are increasing greatly. It is forty leagues from this island 
to the island of Amboina. All the cloves from these five islands 
are of equal goodness if they are gathered when they are 
perfectly ripe. 

In this island they also dry the branches of the trees with many 
leaves on. This is merchandise, because in our part of Europe the 
said leaves are used instead of betel, and since dried betel has 
no flavour | they put the leaves in its place. It is a merchandise Pol- ^5Sv. 
which they used to take to Venice by way of Alexandria, and it 
must be quite twenty years that I have been using the said leaves 
in Portugal instead of the said folio Indio which is beteP. 

That ends the account of the five Molucca islands, coming 
from Ternate to Amboina; and if that is not in order, go back 
in the account from Amboina to Ternate, beginning with 
Bachian. Do not say that the navigation from Malacca to the 
Moluccas is dangerous, for it is a good route and convenient for 
our ships, and with monsoon winds you can sail to Banda or 
Amboina in a month, and from there to the Moluccas in a day 

' We have seen already (p. 54) that Pires was wrong in identifying folio 
indio with betel. But it seems that the leaves of the clove tree (Caryophyllus 
aromaticus Linn.) were used as a substitute for the folium indum, though 
Orta {Coll, xxiii) dismisses the idea. Linschoten says that ‘the leaves called 
Folium Indum . . . have a sweet smell, almost like Cloves’. Hak. Soc. ed., 
II, 1 30-1. Though he had not been in the Moluccas, Pires certainly knew the 
clove leaves well, and his statement is certainly most interesting. In his letter 
of 8 Jan. 1515 to the King of Portugal, Jorge de Albuquerque, then Captain 
of Malacca, writes that Antdnio de Miranda had arrived from Banda, whence 
he went to Amboina to meet Serrao, and he was sending a branch with leaves 
and a stem of the clove tree; then he adds that Tom^ Pires would explain all 
these things. Cartas, iii, 136-7. 



or two. Our well-equipped ships will not linger in Amboina; 
they must go on to the Moluccas, especially anyone who has 
been able to learn and investigate how to come from Portugal to 
the Moluccas in such a short time; anyone will be able, as is 
known, when his turn comes and if he works — anyone who is 
jealous that things should be accomplished in the service of the 
King our lord — to make the journey of the Moluccas not by way 
of the coast of Java, but by Singapore, and from Singapore to 
Borneo and from Borneo to the island of Buton {ButumY and 
then to the Moluccas. Anyone who has sailed to the Moluccas 
has always found this a very good way, in a monsoon, and quick. 
The Java way to the Moluccas was officially established in this 
manner: the route from Borneo to the Moluccas suits us well, 
and the Java way suits the merchants of Malacca; the Borneo 
one suits us because we do not put in to ports from country to 
country, selling here, selling there, making money in each place 
in such a way that the time draws out; and as they have little 
capital and the sailors are slaves they make their journeys long 
and profitable, because from Malacca they take merchandise to 
sell in Java, and from Java merchandise to sell in Bima and 
Sumbawa, and from these islands they take cloth for Banda and 
the Moluccas, and that which they have kept in reserve from 
Malacca. The people of Banda and the Moluccas adore them. 
And so they do their trade, which they could not do along the 
way by Borneo and Buton and Macassar. 

We do not seize the opportunity of adding to our profits in 
their crude way, nor are we as leisurely as they, because we take 
paid people only. We take on liberal supplies and good cloth 
and set out on our journey. We do our trade like Portuguese who 
are not accustomed to it, and the petty cloths of the royal mer- 
chants are carefully kept because they regret [they cannot take 
the richer?] merchandise; and thus we make our way quickly. 
Therefore the Borneo route suits us better, because we already 
know (God be praised!) that it is good and fairly profitable. 

After the Moluccas I have spoken of five islands; now I should 

* Buton island appears like a prolongation of the south-eastern peninsula 
of Celebes. Banda lies due east of the north part of Buton. Buton on Berthe- 
lot’s map. 



also like to speak of the island of Gillolo on account of the port 
of Gillolo, which has a great deal of cloves, and is near to our 
friend Ternate. 

The island of Gillolo is a long arm of land. One end of it is Island of 
opposite to Amboina and Ceram and on the other side it extends 
towards the north to the islands of Morotai. It is very large. It §^yna)i 
is entirely heathen. It has many foodstuffs and many people 
and many paraos. Some of them go pillaging; some of them go 
trading — like all other nations. It is six leagues from Ternate to 
this island. This is the port which is called Gillolo {Jeilolo). This 
is the only port in the island of Gillolo. It has a Mohammedan 
king. His port has many foodstuffs. He is an enemy of the king 
of Ternate, and they raid and rob one another. Like the island 
of Bachian, this land of Gillolo {Jeilolo) has a great deal of wild 
cloves; they say that they are working to make it good. This 
island has a good port, and the people are somewhat whiter than 
those in the Moluccas. 

There are a great many other islands around the Moluccas: Fol. isgr. 
towards the north there are the islands of Morotai {Mor) and 
Chiaoa, Tolo, Banggai {Bemgaya), and Sulu {^olor) to the west 
of Celebe^, and they produce many foodstuffs. They come and 

‘ Batochina, or Batochina do Moro, was the early name given by the Portu- 
guese to Gillolo island, or Halmaheira, which has a length of about 190 miles 
from north to south; its width across the centre is about 40 miles. Gillolo bay 
and roadstead, and Gillolo village, lie about 20 miles north-west of Ternate. 

‘The island of Moro, which they call also Batochina, along which lie the 
Moluccas islands’, says Barros. (iv, i, 16). Castanheda refers to the island of 
Batochina do moro (viii, cxiii). On the map of c. 1540 the island is called 
Batachj. In D. Homem’s atlases of 1558 and 1568 it is called abachotina, 
though the name is not written on the island, but off its eastern coast; but in 
the atlas of 1 568 Ceram island is called batochina de ambo ( ?). 

2 Chiaoa, coupled with Mor or Morotai, as it is, might suggest Tanjong 
Salawai, the north-eastern point of the north-east peninsula of Gillolo, which 
lies about thirty-five miles south of Morotai, and might have been taken for 
an island. Pires’ Chiaoa, however, must correspond to Siau, a small island 
north of the north-eastern point of Celebes, which is called Ciau by Pigafetta 
and appears as chiau on the map of c. i S 4 ®> snd Ciao or Ciaos on later maps. 

Tolo still survives in ‘Gulf of Tolo’, formed by the two eastern peninsulas 
of central Celebes; at the northern end lie the Banggai islands. However, the 
Gulf of Tolo and the Banggai islands lie south-west of the Moluccas. 

Qolor corresponds to the Sulu archipelago, which lies north of Celebes, 
and not west, as stated by Pires. Ribeiro’s maps of 1527 and 1529 have foZo; 
solar on the anonymous map of c. 1540; osolor and osollor on later maps. 



trade in the Moluccas; they bring gold. Some of these islands 
also have people who are nearly white; but since it is not our 
intention to write about these islands, because it would mean 
writing about another hundred thousand, I make neither parti- 
cular nor general mention of them here, except that they say 
that in the island of Papua, which is about eighty leagues from 
Banda, there are men with big ears who cover themselves with 
them. I never saw anyone who saw anyone else who had seen 
them. This story should be given no more importance than it 

Having recapitulated the things about the Moluccas in 
accordance with what is said about them, I will not venture 
farther; it was only my intention to come as far as here. Who- 
ever is able to write of the great number and infinity of islands 
there are from the straits of Kampar to Banda and from the 
straights of Singapore to the islands of Japan {Jampom), which 
are beyond China — and between this island and Banda there 
must be an area of more than two or three thousand leagues 
round — whoever is able let him speak of it. And it is certain 
that many of [the islands] are worth speaking about, because 

Celebe — This is the first time that Celebes is mentioned. The first known 
cartographic record of the name is to be found on Reinel’s map of c. 1524, 
where it is written felebes; the map of c. 1540 and D. Homem’s atlas of 1558 
have pta dos celebres; Dourado’s atlases havep: dos selebres. Pta. de Celebres is 
applied to the north-east point of Celebes, or North Cape. Luis’ atlas of 1563 
is the first to have Ilha dos celebres, though several later Portuguese maps 
continued to apply celebres or selebres to the north point only. Rodrigues’ map 
has a long island west of the Moluccas — which very likely corresponds to the 
north-eastern peninsula of Celebes — with the inscription: Ilha Vdama t 
tern ssamdollo {Vdama island and it has sandalwood). Vdama may be a 
corruption of Menado, an important place at the north-easternmost point of 
Celebes, which appears as manado or manade on L. Homem’s (1554), D. 
Homem’s and Dourado’s maps. Farther on Pires mentions the island Vdama, 
next to macafar, among those that trade with Malacca. Abendanon thinks 
that the name Celebe, Celebre or Celebres was first given to the north-eastern 
point and then extended to the whole island, Celebe or Celebre corresponding 
to the Bugi word sellihe (in which the h is sometimes pronounced as an r) and 
meaning ‘current’; thus Pta. dos Celebres would mean Point or Cape of 
Currents. Sur la signification du nom de Vile Celebes, p. 361 seqq. Whatever the 
origin of the word Celebe may be, it was at first used in the singular (it appears 
also as Celebe in the Spanish and Ramusio’s versions of the Book of Duarte 
Barbosa, ii, 204), and later in the plural, Celebes, perhaps because the Portu- 
guese considered it rather as a group of islands than as a single island. 



many have gold, but it would be never ending and tedious. I 
will only speak of the few in this great abundance with which 
Malacca is in communication now, or was in the past, and I will 
touch on others in general terms, so that my project may be 
completed, and if my project does not carry sufficient weight, 
may I be forgiven. 

These are the islands with which Malacca trades, and which 
trade with Malacca: Tanjompura, the island of Laue, Quedon- 
doaniy Samper y Billiton {Bilitam)y CatCy Pamucdy Macapary 
VdamUy Madura, in addition to those I have mentioned, as can 
be seen in detail earlier in this work. I will not speak of Burney 
and the Luzon {Lupdes)y because I have already spoken of them 
in the description of China. 

[central islands] 

The island of Tanjompura is an island which can be reached The 
from Malacca in fifteen days in the monsoon. They go there 
along the Singapore channel and along the Kampar [channel]; jompuraL 
they take their course near Linga, between the islands of Linga 
and Monoby. This island is heathen; it is almost entirely subject 

’ Fires’ ‘island’ of Tamjompura corresponds to Tanjong Puting, on the 
south coast of Borneo. When Fires wrote his Suma, the Portuguese had not 
yet visited Borneo and Celebes. He was ill-informed, or mistook the informa- 
tion given to him, about these places he mentions as ‘islands’; actually most 
of them were simple ports of Borneo or Celebes. Barros says that Gon9alo 
Pereira, who had been appointed to the captaincy of the Moluccas, sailed 
from Malacca in August 1530 via Borneo, where he called at Tanjapura, 
among other ports of that island. He adds that ‘near the City of Tanjapura 
there are many diamonds, finer than those of India’ (iv, vi, 19). Castanheda 
repeats exactly the same information (viii, xxi). Orta mentions an old mine 
{roca velha) of diamonds ‘in the Strait of Tanjampur, in the regions of Mal- 
acca’ (Coll. 43). Early Portuguese maps enable us to identify the situation of 
Tamjompura. It is shown for the first time on the map of c. 1 540, as tajapura\ 
then on L. Homem’s map of 1554 as tamjampura\ taiampur in D. Homem’s 
atlas; taiaopuro in Dourado’s atlases, always on the south coast of Borneo. 

If these maps left any doubt about the exact situation of Tanjampura, 
Berthelot’s map of 1635 is quite explicit: on it Tanjompura is already written 
Tanjao Pute and corresponds to Tanjong Puting, exactly in the same latitude 
(3° 31' S.). Inland, northward of Tanjao Pute, is inscribed: Aqui he a roca 
velha dos diamantes (Here is the old diamond mine). See note on Borneo, 
p. 132. 



to Pate Unus, lord of Japara. This island has a Pate governor 
who is lord of the island. It is an island fifty leagues round. It 
has a great deal of gold, and rice and other foodstuffs; it has 
many diamonds; it has junks, pangajavas; it has many inhabi- 
tants. Merchandise comes from Malacca: cloths that are of value 
in Java, chiefly red and black hretangis and cheap white cloth 
from Bengal. They bring foodstuffs and diamonds and gold. No 
other place is known where there are diamonds except in the 
kingdom of Orissa (Rixia), near Bengal. These are the best, and 
then come those from this island of Tanjompura, and then those 
from Laue. They are not found anywhere else. The people of 
this island are traders; they have many slaves which are brought 
to them from other islands, in addition to their own. They have a 
great deal of honey and wax. 

Island of This island of Laue is four days’ journey beyond Tanjompura. 


' Though written lane, this is obviously a transcriber’s mistake for laue, as 
it appears in early maps and references. In the passages where they refer to 
Tanjopura, Barros also mentions Lave and Castanheda Laue, as two of the 
principal seaports in Borneo. When he says that Laue is ‘beyond Tanjompura' , 
Pires seems to mean that it lies eastward of that place. However, all early 
Portuguese maps which have Laue, place it westward of Tanjompura. The 
map ofc. 1540 h&s laue {or lane)\ la{u)e on\j. Homem’smap of 15^4.; laue onde 
foi do manoel de lima in D. Homem’s atlas of 1568; llaue dodefoi dom manoell 
de lima in Dourado’s atlases. The chroniclers do not mention this voyage of 
D. Manuel de Lima to Laue, but Castanheda says that in 1537 he was in 
Malacca (viii, clxxviii). Laue is not to be found on modern maps. Berthelot’s 
map has Laban, }ust north of Sucadana (Sukadana), in south-west Borneo, 
and A. Hamilton’s map of 1727 (apud Dames, ii, 207) still has Lava, south of 
Sukadana. After the death of Magellan at Sebu, the ships of his expedition 
went to Palawan and to Brunei in 1521. When describing Brunei (Burne) 
Pigafetta speaks of ‘a large city named Laoe, which is located at the end of 
(in capo de) this island toward Java Major, which was destroyed and sacked 
because it refused to obey this king (of Burne), but the king of Java Major 
instead’. This passage has rather baffled Pigafetta’s commentators in their 
attempts to identify Laoe. Crawfurd said that Laoe was ‘probably some place 
in Banjarmasin’, in the south-east of Borneo. Dictionary, s.v. Brunai-Town. 
Mosto, though drawing attention to the Lao in Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis 
terrarum and to the Lave in Mercator’s Atlas, situated in the south-west of 
Borneo, concludes: ‘Forse corrisponde all’odierno paese di Laut Bumbu con 
isola annessa, sulla costa sud-est di Borneo verso lava’. Pigafetta, p. 87. This 
opinion is more or less shared by Robertson, Magellan’s Voyage around the 
World, II, 199, by Denuc6, Pigafetta, p. 164, and by the Viscount de Lag6a, 
Ferndo de Magalhaes, ii, 129. The early Portuguese maps mentioned above, 
however, leave no doubt of the situation of Laue or Laoe on the south-west 



It is as large as the one above. It has pates\ it has many inhabi- 
tants; they are all heathen. They trade with Java and Malacca, 
and almost as much with Java as with Malacca. They have 
diamonds; they have junks; gold in greater quantities than 
Tanjompura'y they have merchants. It is a country with many 
foodstuffs. The people are good. The merchandise mentioned 
above is of value here; Kling cloth is of value. It is a good trad- 
ing country. It does not obey anyone. These people are almost 
like the Javanese, robust, valiant, manly. They have a great deal 
of wax. 

These six islands written down here surround the two above The 
mentioned, three or four days’ journey from one another. They 
are large islands with many inhabitants; they belong to heathens, d<Jlm 
to pates\ they have junks, pangajavas. These islands all have 0/ Samper 
gold; they have many | foodstuffs; some of them have cowries, 
which are good merchandise. There is a great deal of black (Byiitam) 
hellebore and in great quantities; that from these places is the and of 
best that is known here. The men of these islands are warlike 
and great robbers; they plunder in many places; people going and of 
with merchandise take precautions. Those in the sea-ports are Adema*. 
civilized; the other people are savages. These islands have an ^ 
infinity of mats of three or four kinds; they have a few rattans; ° 
they have dried fish, pitch, foodstuffs, many vegetables; they 
have wines. These people sail to Java and Malacca. 

coast of Borneo. Pigafetta’s drawing of the island of Burne shows that though 
he had no idea of the size of the island, he placed Laoe on the south-west 
coast. Mercator’s globe of 1541 also has Lao on the south-west coast of the 
island, obviously following Pigafetta’s drawing. Pigafetta’s spelling of Laoe 
shows that Pires was right when he wrote Laue and not ‘Lave’. See note on 
Borneo, p. 132. 

‘ Quedomdoam — In the enumeration above, Pires places Quedomdoam after 
Laue, and so between the latter and Tanjompura. There is a small port called 
Kandavangan, north of Cape Sambar, which may correspond to Pires’ 
Quedomdoam. Samper — must correspond to Sampit bay, east of Tanjong 
Puting. Bylitam is the island Billiton, east of Banka. Cate- — Pulo Laut, an 
island off the south-eastern part of Borneo, the most important place in which 
is Kota Barn? Or does it correspond to Kutei, a large region in middle- 
eastern Borneo, which appears as CAT AY on Berthelot’s map? Pamuca 
corresponds to Pamukan or Pamkan bay, in the south-east of Borneo. 

Pamocan on Berthelot’s map. Vdama — The transcriber first wrote Vdama, 
but here spelled it Adema — one of his many and misleading mistakes. See note 
p. 222. 


Islands of 


The Javanese go and buy junks in these peoples’ country, and 
these people sell the junks when they go to Java. They are great 
bowmen. They take a great many slaves and gold. The merchan- 
dise mentioned in the other islands is of value in these lands, 
black benzoin from Palembang is of value. Behind these islands 
is the route to the Moluccas via Macassar and Buton; an 
they will be described with Borneo {Burney) and the Luzon 

The islands of Macassar are four or five days’ journey beyond 
the islands we have described, on the way to the Moluccas. The 
islands are numerous. It is a large country. One side goes up to 
Buton and Madura and the other extends far up north. They are 
all heathens. They say that these islands have more than fifty 
kings. These islands trade with Malacca and with Java and with 
Borneo and with Siam and with all the places between Pahang 
and Siam. They are men more like the Siamese than other 
races. Their language is on its own, different from the others. 
They are all heathens, robust, great warriors. They have many 

These men in these islands are greater thieves than any in the 
world, and they are powerful and have many paraos. They sail 
about plundering, from their country up to Pegu, to the 
Moluccas and Banda, and among all the islands around Java; 

* Macassar or Mangkasar is the name of the people inhabiting the extreme 
end of the south-western peninsula of Celebes. The name served at first to 
indicate the whole island, or the south-western peninsula, but it is now 
limited to its chief port and capital. On one of his maps (fol. 36) Rodrigues 
calls Borneo A gramde Jlha de maquafer (The great Island of Macassar), 
which shows the confused knowledge most early cartographers had of the 
Archipelago. The map of c. 1540 has os macafaes, L. Homem’s map of 1554 
has os magasares, and Dourado’s atlases have os magamsares, in small script 
like all the other ordinary names of places, just south of the equator; but the 
island as a whole has no name. Mercator’s globe of 1541, following some 
Portuguese map now unknown, has a long island running west-east called 
Macace, south of Burneo and north of Sumbawa {Bima, etc.). Eredia’s map 
(fol. 47V.) has the name MACAZAR given to the whole island. In this map 
the island, fairly correctly situated but without showing the characteristic 
long peninsulas, is divided into three regions: CELEBES regiam, in the north; 
BVGVIS regiam, in the centre; MACAZAR regiam, in the south. The atlas 
of c. 1615-23 has the island similarly represented and called MACASAR. In 
Berthelot’s map of 1635 the whole island is already named CELEBES, and 
only the south-western peninsula is called macassa. 



and they take women to sea. They have fairs where they dispose 
of the merchandise they steal and sell the slaves they capture. 
They run all round the island of Sumatra. They are mainly 
corsairs. The Javanese call them Bugis (Bujuus), and the Malays 
call them this and Celates. They take their spoils to Jumaia ( ?) 
which is near Pahang, where they sell and have a fair con- 

Those who do not carry on this kind of robbery come in their 
large vf&\\-hni\tpangajavas with merchandise. They bring many 
foodstuffs: very white rice; they bring some gold. They take 
bretangis and cloths from Cambay and a little from Bengal and 
from the Klings; they take black benzoin in large quantities, and 
incense. These islands have many inhabitants and a great deal of 
meat, and it is a rich country. They all wear krises. They are 
well-built men. They go about the world and everyone fears 
them, because no doubt all the robbers obey these with good 
reason. They carry a great deal of poison[ed weapons] and shoot 
with them. They have no power against the junks which can all 
defend themselves, but every other ship in the country they 
have in their hands. 

The island of Madura is a large island, it lies over against Java 
and in sight of Grisee (Agacy). It has many inhabitants and a 
king. This island of Madura is very extensive; they say that it 
must be eighty to a hundred leagues in circumference. The Pate 
of Madura is a knight, a very important person. He is a heathen. 
He is called \blan}i\. He is married to a daughter of the Guste 
Pate of Java. They say that Madura must have fifty thousand 
fighting men. The best knights come from here and are greatly 
feared in Java. The people of Madura say they are native 
Javanese and they are very conceited. They have many heathen 
priests, very esteemed persons. It is a country with many 
lancharas. They are well-made men. The country produces 
many foodstuffs. They have many horses. They use large 
quantities of cloths in Madura, made in the island itself, and 
others that come from outside which they wear. They have no 
other merchandise, except rice and foodstuffs, and many slaves. 
They have some gold from the trade carried on by the islands 
already mentioned; and some of these islands border on Madura. 


island of 



This island is at peace with Grisee. This island of Madura has 
no Moors and they [the islanders] are our friends. 

Fol. i 6 or. There is an infinity of other islands. There is no reason to 
say more, only that all have gold and slaves and trade with one 
o/alUhe another, and the small ones do this in the larger ones that ave 
islands, been mentioned, and the larger ones trade with Malacca, an 
Malacca with them, spending and bartering the merchandise. 
Most of these islands have gold, and they also have corsairs an 
robbers who live by that alone. The corsairs only sail in ig t 
paraos and therefore they do not attack junks. And the corsairs 
who are nearest to Pahang make in Pahang their trading ports, 
and those near the Moluccas and Banda trade in Bima and 
Sumbawa and Sapeh {Capeey, and those near us hold a fair and 
trade in Am and in Arcat, Rupat. They bring countless slaves, 
and therefore a large number of slaves are used in Malacca, 
because they all go there on account of the great trade it has, 
more than all the kingdoms and ports over here; and so it is 
called the fortunate river. There are certainly great sailings from 
here; no trading port as large as Malacca is known, nor any 
where they deal in such fine and highly-prized merchandise. 
Goods from all over the east are found here; goods from all over 
the west are sold here. There is no doubt that the affairs of 
Malacca are of great importance, and of much profit and great 
honour. It is a land [that] cannot depreciate, on account of its 
position, but must always grow. It is at the end of the monsoons, 
where you find what you want, and sometimes more than you 
are looking for. 

* Sapeh is an inhabited place on the east coast of Sumbawa, which gives its 
name to a bay and the strait between Sumbawa and Komodo islands. Rodri- 
gues’ drawing (fol. 83) shows theporto de (ape, with several houses and trees, 
at the eastern end of Simbaua; the map of c. 1 540 has Cape, though the name is 
misplaced over the middle of the island. Bima is not a separate island, but just 
a part of Sumbawa island. See note pp. 201-2.